I'll bet I can predict a few facts about the author.
He probably took a language, most likely Spanish, in high school. He was taught in a very dry manner, in a class that emphasized memorization and translation. Being a typical high schooler, he wasn't terribly motivated to learn it, and he had probably never met anyone (or at least anyone he considered "desirable" to know) who spoke Spanish. He did not get a chance to do extensive reading or listening in Spanish *at his level*, which would have given him a feeling of success and encouraged him to continue in the language. Nothing in the class content had anything to do with his life, so he became bored with it. He managed to pass (perhaps) and then forgot about it for the rest of his life. Until, that is, it came time to argue that foreign language was worthless.
As a secondary-level language teacher and a former university language instructor, however, I strongly believe that steps need to be taken to make the instruction people receive in Hawaiian more communicative and more alive. People are very concerned that students "learn things right", and that's good. It has its value. But if an overemphasis on form devalues communication and human interaction using the language, all the form in the world has no value to the student. I might be able to construct perfect complex sentences, but if I cannot *use* the language it's not much good to me. There is a lot that could be done with this course to bring it in line with the needs of students and to promote fluency and more rational acquisition of the grammar of Hawaiian. I love learning languages, but frankly I find this course very dry and, sadly, a typical language learning course from the 1950s, except that it's delivered over the Internet. Memorize the grammar rule, translate the sentences. Do the exercises. Take the test. These are the same things that lead thousands of students all over the US to dislike Spanish, French, German, or any language they took in high school "way back when" when those languages were also taught this way.
I really hope that Hawaiian, with its cultural emphasis on "talk story", can be brave enough to move ahead to really capture the interest and enthusiasm of people who want to learn the language to fluency. If they are all stalled by grammar-heavy methods, I do fear for the future of the language. Hopefully the immersions are enough to keep it going.
Take a look at www.bignosechinese if you can't imagine how a language can be taught with a focus on meaning and a de-emphasis of grammar, while still having the students acquire the correct grammar. At the end of that course, the students were able to read an 1100 word story in (romanized) Chinese. Is their Chinese "perfect"? No, but they want to go on with it, and they can use it. It is a living language for them. Hawaiian and Chinese are very similar in many ways, notably their lack of verb conjugations. One could potentially catapault people to good oral fluency in Hawaiian in very short order, if the methods are changed.
ko'u mana'o wale n?