History of Modern Hawaii as Taught in Hawaii Schools

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BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. — All students in Hawaii public schools are required to pass a course on the modern history of Hawaii before they can graduate. As a result of the history-twisting and victimhood mentality spawned by this course, thousands of teenagers and young adults now feel rising levels of anti-Americanism and anti-Caucasian racial resentment. How did this sad state of affairs come about?

Two textbooks are available for the course, and they will be reviewed below. Actually, the Hawaii State Department of Education and its area offices try to maintain the fiction that the social studies teachers in each high school are free to chose any book they wish, whether or not it is one of these two. However, the DOE has established a set of “standards” for every course, including this one.


There are only two books for which the highly paid bureaucracy at the DOE has created curriculum guides identifying which chapters, sections, or pages in the book are devoted to each of the standards. Thus, if the overworked teachers in a public school were to choose a different book, the burden would fall upon them to create such a guide. Apparently neither the DOE nor its area offices keep track of which textbooks are used by which schools. To find out, it’s necessary to contact the social studies department chair, or the individual teachers, in each school.

Although there is a set of “standards”, there appears to be no specific curriculum. Each teacher uses the chosen textbook in whatever way he/she wishes. Homework assignments and projects might be suggested in the textbook, but apparently examinations are created by each teacher from scratch. There is no midterm or final exam which all students take, which would allow teachers to be compared against each other according to how well their students do in meeting the so-called “standards.” The “standards” themselves are extremely vague; never specifying any set of facts which students must know, but rather identifying general topics which students are supposed to be able to “discuss” or “compare” or “explain.”

The apparent freedom given to each teacher to design his/her own curriculum and to decide how to measure student achievement is actually a huge burden requiring each teacher to reinvent the wheel. The result is that teachers are likely to recycle class lessons or projects which they did when they themselves were students in a Hawaiian Studies course, or use lesson plans offered to them by Kamehameha Schools or other Hawaiian sovereignty groups.

What’s above is section 1, “Introduction”, in a webpage providing a more detailed analysis. The webpage identifies the so-called “standards” for the Modern History of Hawaii course, and the two books whose contents have been allocated among the standards by the DOE. Some specific examples are provided to show how the books skew Hawaiian history to brainwash students with pro-sovereignty, anti-American, or anti-Caucasian attitudes. The webpage then briefly considers a wider scope of related topics such as the role of education in society, the role of the University of Hawaii in shaping how Hawaiian history is taught, the public charter schools and especially the “Hawaiian-focus” ones, and the growing influence of Kamehameha Schools in shaping the public school curriculum.

Here are the titles of the remaining sections of the webpage, located at

2. The official “standards” for the required course on Hawaii’s modern history

3. The two textbooks referenced by the Hawaii Department of Education standards

4. Examples of how the Hawaii history textbooks brainwash the students with anti-American and anti-Caucasian attitudes

4.1 Laura Brown’s brief 2006 critique of MENTON; addendum regarding textbook’s routine use of the word “haole”

4.2 MENTON textbook identifies 4 “models” of Hawaiian sovereignty and offers homework and classroom debate encouraging students to choose the best model. But MENTON does not offer the possibility that all these models are deeply flawed because the best model for Hawaiian sovereignty is the unity of Hawaii with the U.S., the unity of the State of Hawaii as a single sovereignty, and equality of all people under the law regardless of race.

4.3 MENTON textbook allows Aiko Reinecke herself to tell or edit a highly biased version of the “Communist scare” in Hawaii during the McCarthy period, including the story of how she and her husband were fired from their teaching jobs on charges of being Communists. Textbook strongly pushes students to conclude there was nothing wrong with a teacher being a Communist, even at the height of the Cold War when the Russians were stealing nuclear secrets.

4.4 Both textbooks spend considerable time on pro-sovereignty documents generated by the U.S. government, most notably the 1893 Blount report and the 1993 apology resolution. But they do not mention the far more detailed and credible Morgan report (1894) and Native Hawaiians Study Commission report (1983) even though Morgan clearly refutes Blount and NHSC describes in detail why the “whereas” clauses of the apology resolution are false.

4.5 Both textbooks repeatedly use the word “oligarchy” as a sort of slur to describe the relatively small group of politically powerful Caucasians and the economically powerful “Big Five” corporations that controlled Hawaii during the Territorial period. But they never use that same word “oligarchy” to describe the small group of enormously powerful and wealthy native Hawaiians who controlled Hawaii during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

4.6 Changing the government of a nation by means of a revolution does not destroy the nation. The temporary Provisional Government and internationally recognized permanent Republic of Hawaii continued as an independent nation for five and a half years despite U.S. President Grover Cleveland’s efforts to destabilize it.

5. Education transmits the culture or can be used to change it

6. Ken Conklin’s personal background as related to Hawaiian issues

7. Hawaii history as taught at the University of Hawaii

8. Hawaii history as taught in the non-traditional Hawaii public (charter) schools

9. The impact of Kamehameha schools on charter schools and regular public schools

10. Ten sample test questions to show the likely ignorance and bias of students who have completed the history course (and probably of their teachers too!)

The detailed webpage is at https://tinyurl.com/4ys86vg





    • Sure and begorrah, I dealt with the topic that Caucasians of Irish ancestry are very deserving to be honoured as pioneers of surfing, despite a resolution in the Hawaii legislature which racially excluded them and gave honour only to ethnic Hawaiian surfers. “St. Patricks Day 2010: Honouring a Hawaiian King who declared it as his official birthday, and modern Irishmen who are leaders in the sport of surfing.”
      The article was published right here in Hawaii Reporter at
      and also in a webpage at

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