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Reports & Research

December 2, 2010

 

UC AAPI MRP report...

New Report Disputes “Model Minority” View of Asian Americans, Finds Some Subgroups Face Barriers

On Thursday, California Assemblymember Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board President Mónica García, Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) executive director Stewart Kwoh, and the UC Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy Multicampus Research Program (UC AAPI Policy MRP), will be holding a press conference to release “The State of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Education in California” report.

This publication was produced by the UC AAPI MRP in collaboration with Assemblymember Eng. It focuses specifically on the state of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) education in California and highlights the achievements and challenges in public K-12 and public postsecondary education as they relate to AANHPI populations.

The report debunks the “model minority” myth and sheds light on the barriers that impact these ethnic communities which creates disparities in educational attainment.

California has the largest and most diverse Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) population in the nation.

There has been increasing attention at the federal and state level on the performance of schools and colleges/universities in preparing youth for participation in an information-driven economy and in the nation’s and state’s democratic institutions.  The challenges are great, especially for students from non-dominant racial and cultural communities, including many immigrant groups, which historically have been underserved by our educational systems.

SUMMARY OF MAJOR FINDINGS

1. Contrary to the "model minority" characterization of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander educational attainment, there are particular ethnic groups with disproportionately high rates of dropping out of high school and do not have high school diplomas.

  1. Hmong have the largest proportion (45%) in the state with less than a high school diploma among all racial/ethnic groups.
  2. About 40% of Cambodians and Laotians (people originally from Laos) have less than a high school diploma, which is double the state rate.
  3. Over one fifth of Fijians have less than a high school diploma, which is higher than the state as a whole.
  4. Pacific Islander students in grades 9-12 have high dropout rates, with about one-fifth estimated to drop out over a four-year period.

2. Poverty and limited English proficiency alone and together heighten the risk for dropping out of high school and college/university. Most Asian American subgroups are limited English proficient, and specific Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander subgroups have very high poverty rates.

  1. Over 40% of Vietnamese, Koreans, Hmong, Cambodians, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Laotians report limited English proficiency, which is double the state rate.

Other Findings

  1. A quarter of Hmong and Cambodians live in poverty, about double the state rate, and about one fifth of Tongans live in poverty, more than one and a half times the state rate.
  2. Research shows that professional educators who share students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds bring “culturally responsive instruction and caring-centered pedagogy, together with high expectations and careful alignment with district and state standards.”
  3. The proportion of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander professional educators is less, and in some cases, far less than the proportion of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander enrolled students in the public K-12 system and postsecondary institutions. Personnel data were not available by racial/ethnic subgroup.
  4. Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 5%-7% of all K-12 personnel in the state, but Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 12% of K-12 student enrollment.
  5. Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 8%-13% of all but one category of California Community Colleges personnel, but Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 16% of California Community College students.
  6. Asians are 9% of Managerial and 15% of Faculty personnel at the California State Universities, but Asians, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders are 18% of California State University students.
  7. Financial aid is vital but not sufficient for student retention and success for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander college students. Data on financial aid were not available by AANHPI subgroup or for the California State Universities, making comparisons difficult if not impossible.
  8. At the California Community Colleges, Pacific Islander students receive the largest scholarships in dollar amount, but Pacific Islander students have lower retention and success rates than most other racial/ethnic groups.
  9. At the University of California, Asian students are the largest group among all racial/ethnic groups with parent income less than $45,000, but though they receive similar dollar amounts in grants as other students, smaller proportions of Asian students receive scholarships compared to other racial/ethnic groups.

The report makes three recommendations:

  1. disaggregated data by AANHPI subgroups are urgently needed;
  2. more data and analysis are needed to determine the obstacles to retention, success, and graduation for AANHPI subgroups; and
  3. pipeline programs to higher education need to target AANHPIs.

Source:  Asian Pacific American Legal Center