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  • Of the 5,000 students in those intermediate/high schools, 33 percent had been absent 20 days or more a year.
  • Of the 20,000 native Hawaiian youngsters aged 12 to 17, 10 percent were not enrolled in any school.
  • Of the 34,000 native Hawaiian students in public schools, approximately 12,900 (35 to 38 percent) were in the lower stanines (1-3) for SAT reading, compared with 24 percent for the State.
  • Of the approximately 72,000 native Hawaiians age 25 and older, 31 percent had not finished high school (this is an improvement over the 1970 Census figure of 50.3 percent). 34/

Given these problems, it is not surprising that "educational needs are in [the] top priority for programs according to the Hawaiian population." 35/ The 1976 Alu Like Needs Assessment Survey sample that voiced this priority also indicated that parents have high aspirations for their children and feel it is important for them to finish high school. 36/ These parents also believed that schools are:

. . . not sensitive to the needs of children with a culturally Hawaiian life-style, and that Hawaiian children are in need of head-start preparation for the public schools as a way of integrating their cultural orientation with that of the vastly different orientation in the public elementary schools they will attend. 37/


Formal education in Hawaii, as it was known in the United States, 38/ began with the arrival of the missionaries in 1820. The native Hawaiians enthusiastically embraced learning to read and write. By the end of the nineteenth century, the vast majority of native Hawaiians were literate (in Hawaiian or English).

During the territorial years, however, a low attendance rate for children beyond the compulsory school age can be seen. This is probably due to the attitudes of children, and especially their parents, toward American education. In contrast, a 1976 Alu Like Needs Assessment survey indicated that education for their children was a top priority for native Hawaiian parents.

Despite these aspirations, educational problems still exist. According to the 1970 U.S. Census, native Hawaiians have the following characteristics with regard to education:

  • The percentage of native Hawaiian children between the ages of 14 and 17 who are enrolled in school is lower than that for any other group in Hawaii (91.6 percent for females and 90.7 percent for males, compared to an overall State figure of 94.8 percent);
  • The median number of years of school completed by native Hawaiians over 2 5 years of age was 12.0, compared to a State median of 12.3;
  • Only 49.7 percent of native Hawaiians over 25 have graduated from high school (State data show that this figure was even less in 1977—46.9 percent); and

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