Native Hawaiians continue to experience a form of fatal impact usually associated with the last century. Neither Hawaiian nor Western medicine has effectively halted the damage.
Educational Concerns. In the perceived needs assessments conducted by Alu Like, Inc., and additional polling done by the University of Hawai'i, education has consistently received top priority among Native Hawaiians as an identified need.
These surveys and accompanying in-depth interviews contradict the impression often conveyed among professional educators that Native Hawaiian performance in schools is a consequence of not caring about or actively endorsing education by Hawaiian families.
A number of independent studies, particularly the extensive research published by John Gallimore, substantiate that:
- Native Hawaiian children are raised with culturally-distinctive values, behaviors, and styles; and
- that these differences, unless recognized and accomodated, are in conflict with dominant Western modes.
The Bishop Estate and Kamehameha Schools have recently completed a comprehensive Native Hawaiian Educational Assessment Project. Their report has been submitted to U.S. Secretary Bell of the Department of Education. We wish to include their report, findings and recommendations by reference.
Certain salient findings of this Commission are offered in addition:
- 30% of the school-age population of the State of Hawai'i is Native Hawaiian;
- Native Hawaiian students have the highest rates of academic and behavioral problems in the State, the highest levels of absenteeism, and the lowest levels of performance and achievement; and
- only 4.6% of all adult Hawaiians over 25 years of age have completed college, compared to a Statewide average of 11.3%, and only 12.3% have had "some college" compared to a Statewide average of 15.6%.
Employment and Income. Directly correlated to educational achievement are employment and income statistics. Also a factor in these areas are family size and the large number of Hawaiian families with a female or single parent head-of-household:
- nearly 30% of all Native Hawaiian families fall below the poverty line;
- Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in blue-collar occupations, and under-represented in technical or managerial positions;
- Native Hawaiians are significantly over-represented in unemployment benefit and Aid to Families with Dependent Children programs.
Based on the findings in all of the social categories, Native Hawaiians demonstrate the same distinct disadvantages experienced by other