Wednesday, July 29, 1998

report faults
board, Chun

The Peterson study
of the schools cites a lack
of leadership and
other problems

By Rick Daysog


A controversial review of the management of Kamehameha Schools faults Bishop Estate's trustees as well as school President Michael Chun for much of the recent dissension at the Kapalama Heights campus.

But critics said the report unfairly singles out Chun.

In a 190-page report filed with the state Circuit Court yesterday, Peterson Consulting L.L.C. said Chun has been unable to provide effective leadership, lacks the appropriate educational background and has lost the confidence of trustees and staff.

The study criticized Bishop Estate's trustees for ignoring input from parents, students teachers, alumni and the broader community.

Trustees' attempts to manage the day-to-day operations of Kamehameha Schools also are in conflict with industry norms that call for board members to serve as policy makers, the report said.

"Relying on an expansive interpretation of their powers under the will of (Bernice Pauahi Bishop), the trustees have attempted to manage the day-to-day operations of the schools and exercise control over educational and financial matters instead of delegating the authority to the president and his staff," the report said.

In a written statement, Chun said that during his 10 years at Kamehameha, the school has continued to improve and gain recognition as a world-class institution. He said that administrators have already identified many of points covered by the Peterson report and they plan to incorporate recommendations that have merit.

"The report is critical of my leadership as well as the governance practices of the board of trustees. Unfortunately, Peterson fails to recognize the important connection between the two," Chun said.

"Over the past five years, it has been increasingly difficult to lead the school."

The Peterson report, which cost more than $500,000 and took about four months to complete, is a follow-up to a report in December by Patrick Yim, court-appointed fact-finder, that harshly criticized trustee Lokelani Lindsey's stewardship of Kamehameha Schools.

The report listed 99 findings and 151 recommendations. Among the findings: There is a significant conflict between trustees and Chun that has harmed the image of the schools and hurt morale at all levels.

The study blamed Chun for the recent formation of the Kamehameha Schools faculty union, saying he lacked communication, engaged in nonparticipatory decision-making and was in continual conflict with the estate's board.

It also gave passing grades for academic achievements at the high school level but found problems at the elementary grades.

The estate said it views the Peterson report as a management tool that will help it move forward and address many issues.

Michael Green, Lindsey's attorney, earlier said the report would vindicate her and could lead to the ouster of Chun. "I think the prudent thing to do is let those who read it decide on its significance and meaning," he said yesterday. "Let the report speak for itself."

Philip Rowley, who headed the Peterson study, could not be reached for comment.

The report likely will play a key role in litigation involving the Bishop Estate, which includes a state investigation into charges of financial wrongdoing by trustees and a petition by Bishop Estate trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender seeking Lindsey's removal.

Lindsey's attorneys recently subpoenaed the testimony of the Peterson group in her defense against the removal petition.

Critics have charged that the Peterson study is biased and was commissioned by the estate's majority trustees -- Richard Wong, Henry Peters and Lindsey -- to fire Chun and to support Lindsey's legal defense.

In March, Kamehameha Schools teachers questioned the hiring of the Peterson group. Jervis and Stender also opposed the firm's hiring due to the Peterson group's apparent lack of experience in such evaluations. They also said the report is flawed because it makes no mention of Lindsey's role in the campus turmoil, ignoring many critical findings of the Yim report, which it was supposed to complement.

Jervis said Chun gets no credit for recent academic progress of the schools but gets most of the blame for the current controversy, even though his authority on campus had been stripped by Lindsey.

Schools report finds
good and bad

Peterson's Kamehameha study sees
some problems in the lower grades

By Debra Barayuga


Kamehameha Secondary Schools are ranked ninth on a list of 12 Hawaii private schools on combined SAT test scores, but appear to be on track to meet strategic goals set for 2005.

While Kamehameha kindergartners have exceeded performance goals since 1994, standardized test scores for elementary students tend to decrease after the first grade.

Those are among the findings in a 190-page report compiled by the Peterson Group, hired by Bishop Estate trustees to conduct a management audit of Kamehameha Schools.

While trustees say the study was recommended by Judge Patrick Yim in his fact-finding report into the controversy over management of the schools, critics say the integrity of the process was compromised when Peterson was retained, not by a neutral party, but a majority of the trustees.

On the surface, some findings appear to confirm Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey's past criticisms of the schools, particularly in the lower grades. But the report also validates some findings in earlier reports that show secondary students are performing well and continuing on to college. Lindsey's attorney, Michael Green, said yesterday that she has declined comment on the final report, saying it "speaks for itself."

For example, the report finds that standardized test scores of Kamehameha Elementary students tend to decrease in both reading and math after the first grade.

In a December report criticizing the schools, Lindsey said the longer students stay, the more poorly they do on standardized tests.

The Peterson report says that while concerns over test scores exist, "most students are learning at high levels in the core content areas."

Curriculum, another area criticized by Lindsey, was found to be deficient. Peterson found that there is no continuity with the curriculum in elementary school that ensures students will be prepared when they move to the high school.

The report blames President Michael Chun's lack of leadership for the absence of a uniform elementary school language arts curriculum, saying ultimate responsibility lies with the president.

The report had high praise for the secondary school's solid college preparatory program as indicated by the number of students who enroll into institutions of higher learning immediately after graduation.

Ninety-four percent of 1998 graduates were admitted to two or four-year colleges or universities. "This is a very good track record of student achievement and speaks well of Kamehameha," the report said.

A goal of the Education Strategic Plan is to have 75 percent of seniors scoring at least 510 in both verbal and math, but students have exceeded expectations.

"Over time, KSS student scores have improved, surpassing and then widening the gap between state and national averages," the report said.

Critics of Bishop Estate were disturbed that Peterson focused mainly on education data for the 1997 school year.

"I think any educational expert would know they have to cover a wider span," said Beadie Kanahele Dawson, attorney for Na Pua, an organization of Kamehameha students, parents and alumni. "How can you make the proper assessment?"

Peterson's admission of failure to seek independent corroboration and reliance solely on materials provided by estate officials was "appalling," Dawson said. "This is a dereliction of their duty. From that alone, it sounds like a superficial report."

She questioned the estate's spending of $500,000 for a report that lacked input from an independent source. The report doesn't appear to be in the best interest of the estate, she said.

"Both . . . the shallowness of their investigation and the narrowness of their focus just on that one year leads me to wonder if there is some other motive for preparing the report," she said.

Peterson said the report focused on the concerns identified by trustees, the schools president and the planning and evaluation group.

Other findings in the report:

Bullet Students entering the elementary school in grade 4 scored higher on standardized tests than returning students.

Bullet A higher percentage of elementary students scored in top percentiles compared to national norms, rather than private school norms. Private school norms represent higher standards of achievement and may better represent college-bound population, Peterson said.

Bullet Enrollment in lower level or remedial classes has increased 15 percent in the last two years.

Here's how they'd fix it

Some recommendations proposed by Peterson:

Bullet Policy needed: Bishop Estate's board should set policy and empower the administration to implement policy.

Bullet Seek input: The board of trustees should establish a limited number of advisory committees to provide input from parents, students, alumni and others.

Bullet Settle things: For the benefit of students and the institution, Bishop Estate's board should settle disputes internally and trustees should speak with one voice to the public.

Bullet Strong leader: Trustees should have a president who can provide the schools with effective educational leadership.

Bullet Fix curriculum: The president should insist that a comprehensive curriculum plan be implemented.

Bullet Align skills: Perform a detailed analysis of the Stanford-9 test and align tests with the skills taught in the elementary school curriculum.

Bullet Hawaiian language: The board, kupuna, teachers, students and alumni should be involved in determining specific goals for the Hawaiian Language Program.

Bullet Class size: The elementary school should monitor the number of students enrolled in lower level classes and make adjustments to the curriculum to better prepare them at the secondary level.

Bullet Talk it over: The program evaluation office and president should meet with trustees to determine how to best present evaluation information to trustees.

Bishop Estate Archive

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1998 Honolulu Star-Bulletin