‘One of the most potent factoid in this reorganization movement’ was the US Bureau of Education’s 1918 publication, the ‘Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education.’ Drafted by a commission of the National Education Association, it served as a kind of low-key national manifesto of the educational ideas of Dewey, Bode, and Kilpatrick. (Cary; Forbes)
In a democracy, it stated, the purpose of education should be to “develop in each individual the knowledge, interests, ideals, habits, and powers whereby he will find his place and use that place to shape both himself and society toward ever nobler ends.’
The ‘Seven Cardinal Principles’ were: 1. Health; 2. Command of fundamental processes; 3. Worthy home-membership; 4. Vocation; 5. Citizenship, 6. Worthy use of leisure; and 7. Ethical character. (Forbes)
Experience in Hawai‘i and elsewhere seems to indicate that, if they are able to, many parents will go to great lengths to provide their children with what they view as the ‘best’ education.
In the 1820s the missionaries in Hawai‘i sent their children on a six-month trip to New England at an early age because of the lack of Western educational opportunities and their unwillingness to have their children come into contact with Hawaiian children. (Hughes)
Compulsory education had been in effect since 1835 in Hawai’i, and educators in the kingdom and then the territory were proud of their record of universal education. (Hughes)
By 1850, English had become the medium of instruction in the Royal School, and was the language of business, diplomacy and, to a considerable extent, of government itself, but it was not until 1854 that the Hawaiian legislature officially authorized the establishment of a few classes in English for Hawaiians.
Provision was also made for the establishment of special school boards, empowered to set up English ‘select’ schools when suitable quarters had been acquired and a fund of $400 locally subscribed. (LRB)
Starting in approximately 1852 when Hawai‘i was a kingdom, the sugar planters and the Hawaiian government began importing laborers from Asia. In 1879, the importation spread to include Europe.
These laborers came for a limited period of time with the expectation on the part of the employer and the laborer that the workers would return to their country of origin at the end of the contract. For a variety of reasons, growing numbers of these laborers remained in Hawai’i after their initial contract had ended. (Hughes)
At time of annexation, there were 140 public schools, including industrial schools at Lahaina and Hilo, 55 private schools (including one Japanese school.)
As the children of the plantation workers came of school age they were required to attend public school and they rapidly increased the school population. Thus, a 1920 federal survey claimed that only 2-3 percent of the children entering the public schools at age six or seven could speak English. (Hughes)
`Through the 1920s, more than half of the high school students in the Territory attended McKinley High School. Among its 1929 student body of 2,339, nearly one of ten students was (Caucasian) … 43% were of Japanese ancestry and 20% of Chinese parentage. Eleven percent … were Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian and 4 percent were Portuguese’. (Manicas)
In the entire territory there were four high schools: McKinley (the former Honolulu High School;) Hilo, established in 1905; Maui (1913;) and Kauai (1914). The Territory had a proportionally smaller high-school enrollment than any of the forty-eight states, Puerto Rico or the Canal Zone.
In the early 1920s, an experiment had been made by the Central Grammar School of Honolulu in restricting enrollment on the basis of an oral English examination. It was a ‘select school’ for English-speaking children only.
The pressure of the growing Caucasian group and other parents concerned with the problem brought matters to a head. Public meetings were held, and the pros and cons heatedly debated. (LRB)
The prevailing view was that such schools were not proposed for Caucasians alone, or even for children of English-speaking homes, but were for children of all racial groups whose English was such as to justify homogeneity in organization. (LRB)
In 1924, the Department of Public Instruction established the policy of setting aside certain schools where admission was based upon ability to speak and use the English language. The first of these schools was Lincoln, in Honolulu.
When the upper grades of this school became the nucleus of Roosevelt Junior High School, the English standard plan was carried over to that institution. (LRB)
The English Standard system (patterned after the American standard school system) was established in 1924; this required students to pass an oral English entrance exam before being admitted.
Roosevelt was initially composed of grades seven to eleven and housed in temporary quarters in an old, Normal School building that formerly trained teachers for Hawai‘i’s public schools.
In 1937, the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades were permanently removed to the Normal School building, reorganized as an intermediate school, and Roosevelt High remained as a school for tenth and eleventh graders until 1939 when it became a three year high school . (NPS)
At that time, over 80% of children of Japanese descent were in some 175 Japanese language schools. These began instruction after the public school day ended. There were, in addition, 14 Chinese language schools and 10 Korean language schools. These numbered some 40,000 altogether. (Manicas)
After the war, the trend was toward the increase in number of the English standard section, designed to convert eventually all schools to the English standard. (LRB)
From the outset, the plan was that the English standard system would be an interim measure, one designed to last until the majority of children in the public system spoke English as their native language, presumably one generation.
The primary articulated goal was to ensure that the children of English-speaking parents were provided an education in which they were not held back in English and other subjects because of the presence of non-English-speaking children.
In 1941 a citizen’s group conducted a study of the school system and included in its report several comparisons between English standard and district school pupils. In every case the English standard children performed better academically than did the non-English standard children. (Hughes)
In 1949 the legislature passed Act 227, which ordered the Department of public Instruction to: “raise the standards of all public schools to the level of the English Standard system and to provide for the transition from the dual to the single standard system starting in September 1949”. It lasted until the early-1960s in some places.