Impressed with Japan’s ability to quickly rebuild after the Second World War, some educators in Iraq are looking to instill similar values in their own youth.
As Iraq remains mired in fighting with extremist groups, government funds for essential services such as education are strained to the breaking point. In this grim situation, the new Japanese-style school in Baghdad is hopefully seen as a breath of fresh air.
It was the idea of an Iraqi expert in Japanese political history who followed the country’s rise from a devastated scorched land to economic powerhouse in only a few decades and hopes his country can follow the same path when the fighting finally stops.
At an opening ceremony held by the Japanese embassy on 26 December, the founding professor said: “By inheriting the spirit of harmony of Japanese society, I want to bring up the next generation to embrace the importance of teamwork.”
The school will closely follow both the extra-curricular activities found in Japanese schools such as having the students do all of the cleaning themselves and a general emphasis on the importance of discipline in life. The Japanese language will also be among the lessons offered.
One of the 230 children enrolled told media: “I like that it’s possible to a lot of different things like Japanese.”
The second generation Vietnamese American described herself as “not very intelligent,” someone who got straight Cs. She failed the exam to qualify for Advanced Placement classes at the end of Junior High.
But for reasons beyond her understanding, she was placed on the AP track when she got to high school. There, surrounded by ambitious peers and high expectations, “something clicked,” she told researcher Jennifer Lee.
“I wanted to work hard and prove I was a good student,” she said. “I think the competition kind of increases” the desire to “do better.”
Ophelia graduated with a 4.2 grade point average and an acceptance to a prestigious pharmacy program.
Lee, a sociologist at the University of California at Irvine, is an author of the new book “The Asian American Achievement Paradox,” which examines how stereotypes based on race can determine students’ chances for success. For their research, she and co-author Min Zhou surveyed hundreds of students like Ophelia — children of Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants who felt they were treated differently because of their race.
“Teachers and guidance counselors and peers assumed that they were smart and disciplined and high achieving,” Lee told The Washington Post. “So they were more likely to be placed on advanced tracks, more likely to be directed toward selective colleges. Some admitted to getting grades they didn’t feel like they deserved.”
Paradoxically, though, this was one stereotype that served its targets well. Lee said students who were subject to irrationally high expectations usually rose to meet them. Surrounded by brainy classmates only happy with “As,” they adjusted their own notions of what it means to do well. Assumed to be a “smart Asian,” as Lee put it, they put extra effort into their coursework in order to live up to expectations of their ethnicity.
“What you have is a self-fulfilling prophesy where initially what is untrue becomes true,” Lee said. She calls it the “stereotype promise.”
Lee’s findings are the inverse of social science we’ve heard about before. For the past two decades, researchers have been investigating the “stereotype threat” — how negative assumptions about certain groups can undercut their performance. It’s been used to explain why high-achieving African American students sometimes struggle when they get to college, why talented women may underperform in STEM fields.
Social psychologist Claude Steele, who coined the term in 1995, explained how the stereotype threat affects members of groups that are seen as less able or intelligent.
“They know that they are especially likely to be seen as having limited ability,” he wrote in the Atlantic in 1999. “Groups not stereotyped in this way don’t experience this extra intimidation. And it is a serious intimidation, implying as it does that they may not belong in walks of life where the tested abilities are important — walks of life in which they are heavily invested. Like many pressures, it may not be experienced in a fully conscious way, but it may impair their best thinking.”
In the Los Angeles area, where Lee and her colleagues surveyed 4,800 first-generation Americans, the children of Mexican immigrants were most likely to be affected by the stereotype threat. These respondents told Lee that they were rarely taken seriously as students. They weren’t offered help preparing for the SAT and weren’t advised to apply for four-year colleges. If Mexican American students wanted to get into a selective school, they had to be their own tutors, their own guidance counselors.
“One of the questions it raises is how many students aren’t given the opportunity to meet their potential,” Lee said.
Lee’s finding challenges the assumption that gaps in achievement are purely cultural, that “tiger moms” and community regard for education entirely explain Asian American students’ success. The perception of a culture can be as influential as the culture itself.
That’s not to say that culture isn’t a factor — Lee has previously studied how raised expectations within the Asian American community drive high achievement. But when we adopt stereotypes about Asians and education, we’re crediting the wrong culture, she said. It’s not necessarily Chinese people who value education so highly (only 4 percent of China’s population has a college degree), it’s the highly educated Chinese immigrants who come to the United States, more than half of whom went to college.
“It’s not culture reduced to a certain ethnicity,” Lee said. “It’s about who immigrates to the U.S. and what sort of norms they’re bringing.”
Chinese and Korean immigrants are “hyper-selected,” as Lee put it. They are more likely to be highly skilled and more likely to hold an advanced degree than almost any other immigrant group. In fact, they are almost twice as likely to be college-educated than the general U.S. population — only 28 percent of Americans have graduated from college. Since parents’ level of educational attainment is one of the best predictors of their children’s achievement, it’s hardly surprising that academically successful Chinese immigrants will have academically successful kids.
Teachers’ assumptions about Asian culture — misplaced though they may be — affect how they perceive Asian American students. And Asian American students internalize those perceptions. They wind up achieving more than they normally would have based on a stereotype that isn’t even completely true.
“We think that grades and test scores and who gets into what colleges is objective, that it’s all about individual effort,” Lee said. “But our work reveals the hidden ways in which biases and stereotypes operate that make certain outcomes more possible for certain groups.”
Most of the students Lee spoke to said that the stereotype promise was a good thing. It helped them do well in school and get into good colleges.
But Lee warns that it can be a “double-edged sword.” Asian American students are also likely to feel a form of the intimidation Steele described in writing about the stereotype threat.
While black students may worry that their failures will reinforce negative assumptions about African American achievement, Asian American students who didn’t meet the high expectations set for them “didn’t feel Asian,” Lee said. One man told her that he was “the whitest Chinese guy she’ll ever meet,” because he didn’t fit the stereotype of a high-achieving Asian. The pressure can lead to mental health issues, like anxiety and depression.
And the positive stereotypes that serve Asian Americans well in school can act against them once they’re in the workforce. They have a harder time attaining leadership positions because they’re seen as diligent and thoughtful, rather than bold and creative, according to Lee. She noted that Asian Americans made up 6 percent of college students (slightly more than their proportion of the U.S. population) but 2 percent of college presidents. In Silicon Valley, Asian Americans are 27 percent of the workforce but just 14 percent of executives.
The stereotype promise may help Asian American students get a degree, Lee said, but the “bamboo ceiling” stops them from achieving as much as they could with it.
Yes, I know octopi have eight tentacles not six, but Tako of Takos Japanese has five. It’s the same cartoon logic that makes the Simpson family all have eight fingers. And yes, I know the name should probably read “Tako’s Japanese.” Really though, let’s not get bogged down in talk of appendages and apostrophes right now.
Today we’re here to look at a new Japanese study app released by Spain-based Giant Soul Interactive. A lot of Japanese study apps found online are either fun but limited in content or deep but boring and stodgy. Learn Japanese with Tako (recently changed from “Takos Japanese”) aims to strike a happy balance of a fun way to learn the language that’s also rich in content. Let’s find out if they succeed.
■ Brings the cute
In Learn Japanese with Tako you assume the role of the titular Tako, a young octopus studying the ways of reading and writing Japanese. You are aided by a wise old octopus in the ways of properly writing in the three language sets hiragana, katakana, and kanji.
The animated menus and practice areas are all brightly colored and downright cute, which really goes a long way to help you forget that you’re essentially doing handwriting and reading drills. More than just an added frill, the entertaining style of it helps keep you focused on the task at hand.
■ Handwriting Practice
It starts by teaching the hiragana alphabet and uses Latin characters as references. First, Sensei demonstrates the proper stroke order and direction of the characters on a white board which you can follow along.
A common weakness of these kinds of apps is in the handwriting recognition. In an old kanji study app I would sometimes have to write something as simple as the number “2” 20 times before it could register as anything other than “N.” Learn Japanese with Tako, however, seems to understand our handwriting with a good degree of leniency.
It’s not too loose though. I got marked down as not learning my あs (Japanese equivalent of the letter “A”) because my loop at the bottom right was hanging a little too low and it pissed-off Sensei octopus. However, rather than the confusing mess of the “2=N” fiasco, this app let me understand what it was about my あ that led to the problem and allowed me to correct it accordingly. As a result I’d like to think my handwriting is now just a little bit prettier.
After learning the basic writing and reading of the characters you are given a mini-game to review. They all focus on memorizing the characters in different ways. For example, my weak point has always been remembering the correct pronunciation of kanji despite knowing the meanings. This means I’d benefit from the Izakaya mini-game the most.
In this game we have to serve the various sea creatures their order label in kanji as they call out for them phonetically. Like all the games it’s timed which adds a good level of challenge and pressure. There’s also a whack-a-mole game requiring even faster matching of character and pronunciations. Even more advanced students of Japanese might find themselves scrambling with basic words on this one.
Other games include an arcade machine where you have to memorize the order of flashing kanji with their English meanings. There’s also a baseball game which requires speedy handwriting skills. They’re all pretty fun and simple games that you can play whenever you have a minute or two.
■ Room for more
Learn Japanese with Tako starts with hiragana then moves into katakana and beginner kanji. As of this writing it offered up to the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N5 level but they plan to roll out N4 in the coming months. That should be more than enough content for those just starting out learning the language but for people further along it only serves as a nice brush-up program for the moment.
Also, although the games are fun and well designed, it remains to be seen what replay value they have, especially for people just starting out. Learning Japanese can be a long haul and the games will have to be addictive enough to sustain that journey. To address this concern, Giant Soul say there are currently working on expanding the types of mini-games based on user-feedback.
Overall though, Takos Japanese is a very well designed study app both in terms of presentation and educational value, and it has a solid, sleek interface. Another great feature is that in addition to English,the app is available in Spanish, Korean, French, Portuguese, Italian, and German.
▼ Why not switch the language setting and learn two languages at once!
For anyone starting out in Japanese it would be a great tool well worth its 400-yen (US$3.40) asking price the Japanese app store (prices may vary according to region). For those further along, you might want to wait until if they add the higher level kanji. Hopefully they can soon!
While discrimination by colleges is hardly a new controversy, a series of legal cases in the past several years have put the current system under increased scrutiny. A federal suit filed in Massachusetts last month alleges that Harvard employs “racially and ethnically discriminatory policies” when evaluating undergraduate applicants. The plaintiff, Students for Fair Admissions—an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit—claims that the university’s practices violateTitle VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This provision prohibits recipients of federal funding—which include virtually all higher-education institutions—from discriminating on the basis of “race, color, and national origin.” Students for Fair Admissions is demanding that Harvard formally acknowledge it’s used such policies and promise to eliminate them.
“Harvard was targeted specifically because we felt it had the most discriminatory, troublesome data when it came to the ratio of Asians that were applying to Harvard and the number of Asians Harvard was admitting,” said Edward Blum, who is leading the litigation for the organization. “The data [suggesting discrimination] was most acute at Harvard, though it exists at all Ivy League schools.”
It remains to be seen whether Students for Fair Admissions—which also filed a similar suit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last month—will have its day in court. Yet, the complaints against these schools illustrate an ongoing debate over the fairness of “holistic admissions,” the process by which higher-ed institutions evaluate applicants as unique individuals rather than as numbers on a page. It’s not just grades and test scores that colleges care about these days; it’s extracurricular involvement, leadership, volunteer work, socioeconomic background—and race. Under this system, highly qualified applicants are routinely rejected and never given an explanation as to why. For rejected applicants of Asian descent, race often appears to be a key factor. But there’s no way they can know for sure; most college officials avoid acknowledging discrimination, simply praising diversity as a virtue instead.
The Harvard complaint notes that Asian Americans comprised more than 27 percent of applicants at the three most selective Ivy League colleges between 2008 and 2012 but represented only 17 percent to 20 percent of their admitted students over the same period. That discrepancy is especially noteworthy considering, according to the complaint, Asian Americans made up roughly 46 percent of applicants in 2008 “with academic credentials in the range from which Harvard admits the overwhelming majority of students.” That threshold was defined as an SAT score higher than 2200, out of 2400 total points.
In other words, as Blum argues, these numbers may suggest the existence of a “behind-closed-doors quota.” The Supreme Court banned racial quotas in higher education in a landmark decision in 1978. If either the Harvard or UNC cases is appealed at the district level, it could make its way to the Supreme Court. And if that happens, the justices might finally render a ruling on affirmative action—the highly controversial practice of favoring minority applicants who belong to historically disadvantaged groups. (The last time that came close to happening was in 2013, when the court declined to reverse any of its previous rulings inFisher v. University of Texas.)
Robert Iuliano, general counsel for Harvard, said in a statement that the school’s admissions strategy is legally sound. “The College considers each applicant through an individualized, holistic review having the goal of creating a vibrant academic community that exposes students to a wide range of differences,” he said. “The University’s admissions processes remain fully compliant with all legal requirements and are essential to the pedagogical objectives that underlie Harvard’s educational mission.”
Anna Cowenhoven, a spokeswoman for Harvard, added that the school will respond to the litigation, which is currently pending.
The complaint against UNC uses much of the same language as the one against Harvard. Specifically, Students for Fair Admissions is arguing that the North Carolina institution has violated federal civil rights laws by allegedly using race as “the dominant factor” in its admissions decisions when “race-neutral alternatives,” such as socioeconomic preferences, are an option. Rick White, who oversees communications and public affairs at the school’s Chapel Hill campus, said in a statement last week that the school stands by its current undergraduate admissions policy: “The University continues to affirm the educational benefits diversity brings to students, as well as the importance of preparing students for a diverse society and assuring a pool of strong state leaders by admitting undergraduates from every background.”
The idea of treating applicants as unique individuals with diverse assets may seem like a no brainer to today’s students and parents. But ask people about their thoughts on which criteria should matter most in the process, and things get complicated. This is especially evident with respect to race. In a 2013 study, the sociologist Frank L. Samson found that white Californians’ views on meritocracy changed based on demographics. Initially, the majority of those sampled agreed that college admissions should generally be determined by objective measures like standardized test scores and GPAs. But when half of the group was told that the percentage of Asian American undergraduates at UC schools was more than double the percentage of Asian Americans living in California as a whole, the respondents switched to supporting more-subjective “intangibles,” like leadership and community involvement. “The results here suggest that the importance of meritocratic criteria for whites varies depending upon certain circumstances,” Samson concluded in the study. “To wit, white Californians do not hold a principled commitment to a fixed standard of merit.”
Samson isn’t the only person to have analyzed how Asian Americans are perceived in higher education. A well-known book published in 2009—No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal—suggested that students who self-identified as Asian would need about 140 points more on the SAT than their white peers would need to get into elite, private schools. That number jumped to 320 and 450 when Asians were compared to Hispanic and African-American students, respectively.
Meanwhile, at a national gathering in 2006, high school guidance counselors from across the country expressed concerns about how Asians were being treated in the application process, according to an article titled “Too Asian?” by higher-education journalist Scott Jaschik. “Many Asian students and their families have for years believed that quotas or bias hinder their chances at top Ivy or California universities,” Jaschik wrote, referring to a panel that focused specifically on this issue. “But to listen to panelists—and members of a standing room only audience—the intensity of concern has grown, as has mistrust of the system.”
The panel was, like Jaschik’s piece, titled, “Too Asian?”
These perceptions can have negative consequences. One is the “model-minority” stereotype, which undercuts grievances Asian Americans may have against discrimination. Another is that the fear of self-identifying as Asian has in some cases even been correlated with poorer mental health. In separate studies, Asians lacking strong ethnic identities reported lower self-esteem and higher stress, tended to have worse academic achievement, and rated lower scores of acceptance and self-actualization. Such effects undermine the model-minority image.
Of course, not all cases of discrimination are the same. The Harvard complaint centers on an unnamed applicant who scored perfectly on standardized tests and was an AP Scholar, among other laurels. The applicant was the captain of the varsity tennis team, a volunteer fundraiser for National Public Radio, and a peer tutor. According to the complaint, the student has since enrolled at another high-ranking university—one that “does not grant admissions preference on the basis of race or ethnicity,” a policy that appears to be the exception rather than the rule.
The California Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley are two schools that don’t factor race or ethnicity into admissions decisions. While highly selective, the former has seen its number of Asian-American students grow alongside thecountry’s general Asian-American population. UC Berkeley, meanwhile, is subject to Proposition 209 of 1996, an amendment to California’s constitution that prohibits public universities from considering race, sex, or ethnicity in admissions. After Proposition 209 took effect in 1998, Asian enrollment at the school continued to increase, reaching a peak at 42 percent of undergraduates in 2007 and 2008, according to data compiled by UC Berkeley’s admissions office for The Atlantic. This was roughly double the school’s Asian population in 1983. In 2013, Asians accounted for 38 percent of UC Berkeley’s undergraduate population, one percent down from the year before. (California is home to 5.6 million Asians who make up about 15 percent of the entire state. That’s roughlythree times the total percentage of Asians in the U.S.)
By comparison, Harvard’s class of 2018 is 20 percent Asian American. One-fifth may seem like a lot, but as Yascha Mounk, a political theorist at Harvard, pointed out in a New York Times op-ed last month, the proportion of Asians among the school’s undergrads has been nearly flat for two decades. “Damningly, those rare years in which an unusually high number of Asians were admitted were followed by years in which especially few made the cut,” Mounk wrote. “The truth is not that Asians have fewer distinguishing qualities than whites; it’s that—because of a longstanding depiction of Asians as featureless or even interchangeable—they are more likely to be perceived as lacking in individuality.”
Harvard isn’t the only school that’s been singled out for potential discrimination against students of Asian descent. A similar claim made against Princeton in 2011 prompted a federal Department of Education investigation into whether the school had discriminated against an Indian-American applicant by denying him admission. The case, which the department’s Office of Civil Rights couldn’t elaborate on because it’s still ongoing, follows a separate civil rights complaint from 2006 in which a Chinese-American student accused the school of employing the same practices. The 2006 grievance prompted the education department to conduct an across-the-board review of whether Princeton discriminates against Asians.
Martin Mbugua, the spokesman for Princeton, said in an email that the school does not discriminate on the basis of race or national origin. He added that admissions decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, and that “there is no formula for weighing the various aspects of an application.” Enrollment datashows that Princeton’s percentage of Asian-American undergraduates has steadily increased since 2010, from 16.9 percent to 20.8 percent in 2014.
So, should race matter in higher education? That’s a fraught question which will take years to answer—legally, socially, and morally. But if these recent complaints hold water, they could serve as further evidence of what author Jane Hyun called the “bamboo ceiling“: The many challenges Asians face in the business and social sectors, from implicit bias to overt racism.
These challenges have a bearing on K-12 schools, too, suggesting that the the bamboo ceiling may be even lower than once thought. Stuyvesant, one of New York City’s nine specialized public high schools, doesn’t consider race in its admissions process; students only need take a standardized test to apply. Still, the policy has come under fire because of the student demographics that result:73 percent of ‘Stuy’s’ current students are Asian, while 22 percent are white. Just 2 percent of the school’s population are Hispanic, and 1 percent is black.
Upon graduating, many of them move on to top-tier schools. But certain “selling points” of colleges, such as geographic and ethnic diversity, can actually make Stuy students more nervous than charmed, said Casey J. Pedrick, Stuyvesant’s director of college counseling.
“When students begin to receive acceptances, deferrals, and denials, race sometimes comes to the forefront,” Pedrick said. “‘Do you think so-and-so got in because they’re black or Hispanic? Do you think I didn’t get in because I’m Asian?’“
“The poor kids,” she added sympathetically. “They’re just looking for an explanation for why their achievements haven’t been rewarded.”
A lawsuit filed Monday accuses Harvard University of discrimination because of their alleged higher standards of admittance for Asian students. According to Fox News, the suit claims that Asian students weren’t admitted to Harvard despite having higher test scores and GPAs than other minority group students that were accepted.
Edward Blum, who runs the Project on Fair Representation, filed the suit on behalf of the rejected Asian students. He also filed a suit last year that went up to the Supreme Court against the University of Texas on behalf of a white applicant over its affirmative action admissions policy. That decision is still pending. Blum stands on point:
“Quotas and racial balancing are strictly against the law.”
Harvard’s general counsel defends the university with this statement:
“The College considers each applicant through an individualized, holistic review having the goal of creating a vibrant academic community that exposes students to a wide-range of differences: background, ideas, experiences, talents and aspirations.”
“The University’s admissions processes remain fully compliant with all legal requirements and are essential to the pedagogical objectives that underlie Harvard’s educational mission.”
There are good arguments for both sides.
For the students, no particular racial or ethnic group should be held to higher standards than any other group as a strategy of limiting the admittance of one group of people. Achieving an academic record worthy of an Ivy League isn’t an easy feat — for a young person to have worked so hard to attain that, only to be rejected from a university because of their racial makeup, seems highly unfair.
But Harvard has some pretty good reasons for adhering to their policy — it’s for the greater good. A world-class educational institution can’t provide a proper environment for learning if they compromise their diversity, which anyone can argue is a base requirement for growth of any kind. Harvard would simply cease to be Harvard if it was full of Asians, because according to the numbers, it would be.
Should Harvard stick to their policy of “balance,” or should discrimination be shot down and hardworking students be admitted regardless of race?
A high school in Jingzhou, central China‘s Hubei Province held one class’ mid-term exams at a nearby forest rather than in their classroom this past week in a pretty far-reaching attempt to avoid plagiarism among students.
One of the teachers explained that this was the first time the school decided to hold exams outside but hoped that the good weather would help students’ performance.
For decades now, Asian Americans have been regarded as a “model minority,” with high achievement in school and doing well overall, particularly at the top of the curve. But there’s much more to the achievement of Asian Americans than that, and we’ve set out to share some truths about just how well Asian Americans are doing today. We’ve discovered that although Asian Americans do live up to their reputation, there are disparities, including failures to make it to top positions like CEOs, as well as significant difficulties for certain Asian groups. Read on, and we’ll discuss 20 amazing and surprising statistics concerning Asian-American achievement.
ASIAN-AMERICANS ARE NOT MAKING IT TO THE FORTUNE 500
Asian-Americans are excelling in academics. In fact, they represent 15-25% of Ivy League enrollment. However, Asian-Americans make up less than 2% of Fortune 500 CEOs and corporate officers. It’s not clear how exactly this works out, as Asians are more likely to value power and compensation, aspire to top jobs, and speak up for a raise. Asians are simple less likely to get a raise or a promotion, and often, feel stalled professionally with less job satisfaction.
ASIAN-AMERICANS ARE REACHING HIGHER LEVELS OF EMPLOYMENT, HOWEVER
Asian-Americans enjoy good representation in entry-level and middle management positions, but somehow don’t make it to the top. Despite not filling out the Fortune 500, Asian-Americans still enjoy high achievement in employment, with 45% of Asian-Americans in management, professional, and related occupations, a figure that is higher than the total population, which comes in at 34%.
NEARLY ALL ASIAN-AMERICANS HAVE AT LEAST A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
Although certain groups still struggle with educational attainment, overall, Asians are completing high school in large numbers. About 86% of Asians in the U.S. 25 years and older have at least a high school diploma, and 50% of Asian-Americans have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is huge compared to the 28% of the total U.S. population with a bachelor’s degree.
ASIAN KIDS JUST SPEND MORE TIME STUDYING
In an exploration of Tiger Mother parenting, the New York Daily News discovered that the typically high achievement of Asian-Americans may not be due to harsh parenting, but rather, because they spend more time studying than other kids, and not necessarily because their parents force them to. In one study cited by the article, it was found that Asian-American 11th graders spent six more hours per week studying than white students of the same age. The article points out the extra study time can improve feelings of competence, self worth, and joy from completing a monumental task.
ASIAN-AMERICAN KIDS AREN’T MORE STRESSED THAN THEIR PEERS
Although high achievement and hard work are stressed by both parents and students in the Asian-American culture, studies have found that they typically don’t experience more stress than other groups. University of California, Irvine, psychology professor Chuansheng Chen studies almost 5,000 11th-grade math students and found that Asian-Americans and white Americans typically reported the same high level of stress. Asian-American students are, however, slightly more academically anxious. Still, Chen concluded that high parental standards and intense studying didn’t seem to cause noteworthy psychological stress.
ASIAN-AMERICAN FAMILIES SIMPLY EARN MORE
Asian-American families earn $15,600 more than the national median income for all households. But while Asian-Americans are doing well overall, there are larger numbers at the bottom of the scale as well. 10% of Asian-Americans live at the poverty level, and 2.2% of Asian-Americans live on public assistance, compared with 8.2% of Caucasians at the poverty level, and 1.3% of Caucasians on public assistance.
ASIAN-AMERICANS TAKE UP A DISPROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE NATION’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITIES
At some of the best universities in the United States, Asians are the biggest or one of the largest groups on campus. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the student body is 28% Asian-American, and the University of California at Berkeley is 39% Asian-American.
ASIANS WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE WILL EARN $400K LESS OVER THEIR LIFETIME THAN CAUCASIANS
Asian-American men are more likely to ask for a raise, but less likely to actually get one. Even with a bachelor’s degree, Asian-Americans will earn less than their Caucasian counterparts. In fact, according to Forbes, it adds up to a lot: $400k less over the course of a lifetime.
ASIAN-AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER STUDENTS STRUGGLE WITH HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE COMPLETION
Across the U.S., Asian-American and Pacific Islander students often have trouble completing their degrees, with issues in high school and college completion. In Hmong adolescents, 40% do not complete high school, almost half. In Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups, bachelor’s degrees are scarce, with only 14% of students achieving this goal, compared to 28% of Americans with a bachelor’s degree.
OVERALL, ASIAN-AMERICANS ACHIEVE MORE COLLEGE DEGREES
Although certain Asian-American groups may struggle with earning degrees, overall, Asian-Americans earn the highest college graduation rate. Asian-Americans have 65% college graduation rates, followed by whites at 59%. Additionally, Asian-Americans are the only racial group that does not have young men falling behind their predecessors in postsecondary attainment.
NOT EVERY ASIAN GROUP IS DOING SO WELL
Chinese-Americans and South Asians personify the high-achieving Asian stereotype most people have come to know, but there are other Asian-American groups who are struggling to make things work. According to Asian Nation, for every Chinese-American or South Asian with a college degree, there’s an equal number of Southeast Asians struggling to adapt to living in the U.S. Specifically, Vietnamese-Americans only have a college degree attainment rate of 20%, and Laotians, Cambodians, and Khmer have a rate less than 10%.
SOME ASIAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS FACE SEVERE DISADVANTAGES
Students from Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos come to the U.S. with issues that can impact their education, specifically war-related trauma and educational disruptions prior to immigration. While living in the U.S., many of these students deal with poverty, racism, and even limited access to educational resources, which can clearly put them at a severe disadvantage compared to other ethnic groups and even Asian-American families who have lived in the U.S. for multiple generations.
THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP IS GETTING EVEN WIDER
The gap between Asian-American students and everyone else is large and growing. Nationwide, Asian-Americans in the upper echelons of standard math exams were scoring 17 points higher than white students, and has widened in recent years according to the Center on Education Policy. Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, remarks that other groups should learn a lesson from Asian-American students, who are “working harder, doing better, and getting ahead.”
ASIAN-AMERICANS PERFORM WELL ON MATH SAT SECTIONS, BUT NOT AS WELL IN READING AND WRITING
Asian-Americans typically do well on the SATs, and in the math section, Asian-Americans earned 42 more points than the average white student did. However, the same can not be said about the reading and writing section, with Asian-American students scoring seven points lower in writing, and 17 points lower in reading. This is perhaps due to language differences in families who have immigrated recently.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDENTS ARE SOMETIMES MISDIAGNOSED AS LEARNING DISABLED
Newly immigrated Southeast Asian students often have limited English proficiency, and as a result, some are misdiagnosed as “learning disabled” and placed in special education. Asian-American and Pacific Islander students are 1.24 times more likely to receive special education and related services than all other racial and ethnic groups combined.
OFTEN, ASIAN STUDENTS ARE NOT PREPARED FOR COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSEWORK
Asian-American students may be doing well overall, but often, they’re simply not ready for college. In California in particular, students are really struggling. The Education Trust published a study,Overlooked and Underserved: Debunking the Asian ‘Model Minority’ Myth in California Schools. In this study, researchers found that about 7 out of 10 Asian students and 9 out of 10 Pacific Islander students are not prepared for college-level coursework upon high school graduation. Further, less than 10% of Filipinos, Cambodians, Laotians, and Samoans are ready for college math.
ASIAN-AMERICANS HAVE A HIGHER PER-CAPITA INCOME
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2008, Asian-Americans overall achieve a higher per-capita income than all other groups. Asian-Americans had per-capita incomes of $30,292, compared with whites, who had a per-capita income of $28,502, and blacks with a per-capita income of $18,406. This is likely due to the fact that Asian-Americans are well represented in management positions.
WESTERN MOMS HAVE MUCH DIFFERENT IDEAS ABOUT EDUCATION THAN CHINESE IMMIGRANT MOMS DO
There are certainly quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to educational opinions, and that may shed light on why Asian-Americans seem to do so well in school. In one study, most Western mothers (70%) believed that “stressing academic success is not good for children” and that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.” Chinese mothers feel completely different, with 0% of the Chinese moms responding positively to these statements. Rather, they believe that their children should be the best students, and that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting.”
CHINESE KIDS SPEND MORE TIME STUDYING THAN PLAYING SPORTS
Each day, Chinese parents spend about 10 times longer per day teaching and pushing children to engage in academic activities than their Western counterparts do. With this extra time, Western kids seem to spend it playing sports instead of studying.
ASIAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS ARE ACHIEVING AT HIGH-POVERTY SCHOOLS
Overall, Asian-American students are doing well and living up to their status as the “model minority.” Interestingly, 30% of Asian-American and Pacific Islander students attend high-poverty schools, meaning that they’re not just doing well, they’re doing well at schools that are chronically underfunded and lacking in resources that other schools may have to offer.