RESPONSE TO UNIVERSITY OF HAWAIʻI PROFESSOR JOHN LEARNED’S COMMENTS REGARDING KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2019
Media Contact
Jacob Aki
808-230-9071

(Honolulu, HI) – A recent recording that is gaining attention on social media (https://bit.ly/2kHLamo) featured commentary from University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Professor of Physics, John Learned who criticized the Kamehameha Schools in a public setting as “academically unsuccessful”

He is quoted saying:

 “We know that the Kam Schools are academically unsuccessful…a student that we have here who is working on his Master’s and is a physics teacher at Kam Schools, he told me that he had to graduate people in physics that couldn’t even read.”

A Hawaiian professor (and a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools) who was in the audience responded to Professors Learned’s comment by saying that it was racist and that he should not be making “a blanket statement”. The physics professor responded, “I don’t care” and he believed that his comments were not ignorant.

Jacob Aki, a candidate for Honolulu City Council District VII (Kalihi, Salt Lake, Āliamanu, and Foster Village) and a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools (KS) and the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) believes that Professor Learned’s comments were both offensive and completely unnecessary.

“I am deeply offended by the statement made by Professor Learned calling the Kamehameha Schools “academically unsuccessful””, said Aki. “Professor Learned is a tenured faculty member at an academic institution that prides itself as a “Native Hawaiian Place of Learning” and should be more sensitive when sharing his personal opinions publicly.”

Aki believes that the Kamehameha Schools is doing an excellent job in academically preparing its students for post-high education and he thinks that Professor Learned’s comments are unfounded and not true.

“As a graduate and a first-generation college student, I can testify to the success of the academic rigor at Kamehameha and the significant role that it had in preparing me for my undergraduate and graduate levels of study,” said Aki. “The professors’ comments are untrue, and I would encourage him to visit with Kamehameha faculty and students to learn more about the school’s curriculum and the way it prepares its students for post-high success.”

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