Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement & Political Manipulation at America's Largest Charitable Trust

Discussion Questions

  • Chapter 3:  “Where Are All the Hawaiian-Looking Ones?”

    • On page 45 the authors write, “Most people agreed that Kamehameha should be exclusively for Hawaiians, but in a Hawaii in which each generation of children had a lower quantum of Hawaiian blood, who was Hawaiian?”  Do you agree that Kamehameha Schools should be for Hawaiians only?  If so, how would you define “Hawaiian?”
    • Even in the early years there was considerable disagreement over the kind of children who should be admitted to the Kamehameha Schools.  The following question appears on page 45:  “Should it be the top tier of potential students, the ones who were likely to do well in any event, or the bottom tier, the children who had little going for themselves?”  What is your opinion on this issue, and do you think Princess Pauahi would agree or disagree with you if she were alive today?
    • The following question appears on page 45:  “Should there be relative few students, to whom many resource would thus be devoted, or as many students as possible, with resources spread more thinly among them?”  What is your opinion on this issue, and do you think Princess Pauahi would agree or disagree with you if she were alive today?
    • The following question appears on page 45:  “Most perplexing of all for an institution founded upon the sacred Will of a revered benefactress: what if the preferred approach in the modern world differed from the one Bernice Pauahi described in her Will?”  What is your opinion on this issue?
    • Charles E. King and a group of other alumni complained that Kamehameha Schools were not demanding enough of the students, that the standards needed to be raised.  What are academic standards, and what difference do they make to the school or its students?  Why would graduates of a school continue to care about that school’s academic standards?
    • The Kamehameha president is quoted in the middle of page 47.  In your own words, what was he trying to say?  Do you agree with his message?
    • The new principal in 1934 threatened to flunk students who did not show enough improvement.  What do you think a school should do with students who do not work hard, or who appear not to be learning much?
    • From page 48:  “Under Midkiff and Barnes, the number of applicants and their test scores increased significantly, and the school’s academic reputation rose dramatically.  There was serious talk about Kamehameha’s becoming a school of the very highest quality, as good as any in the country, one that would produce great leaders.”  This may sound good, yet Senators Heen and Trask were very critical.  Why?
    • Why do you suppose Senator Trask asked, “Where are all the Hawaiian-looking ones?”  Was he looking for an answer, or was he making a point by asking the question?  If the latter, what was his point?
    • Senators Heen and Trask thought the trustees were paying themselves too much money in 1943.  The trustees’ compensation at the time—$10,250 per year—was six times the average full-time wage in Hawaii, and some of the trustees had full-time jobs elsewhere.  Who do you think should decide the amount of a trustee’s compensation, and what factors should be considered?
    • Senators Heen and Trask demanded that changes be made at Kamehameha Schools.  In your own words, what were some of the things they wanted changed, and why do you think they felt so strongly that these changes needed to be made?
    • Because of Senators Heen and Trask, Kamehameha Schools stopped using IQ tests and started admitting more students, hiring more of its own alumni, expanding vocational training, and working hard to build up pride in Hawaiian heritage.  In your opinion, were these good changes?  What might critics say about these changes?