A belief that Asian-Americans are taking over US universities, outperforming other groups and grabbing the bulk of math, science and engineering degrees has been debunked in a landmark study.
American popular culture is full of claims that Asian Americans are “overrunning college campuses with high enrollment” but “such impressions exaggerate” their presence in US higher education, the study said.
Entitled “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight,” the study was conducted by New York University, a group of mostly Asian-American educators, and the College Board, a group that holds standardized tests for mostly high school students.
The study showed that the number of Asian-Americans at institutions of higher learning was inflated by foreign students from Asian nations and that not all were top students gaining easy entry to the best colleges and universities to become doctors and engineers.
“Because of the assumption that they are doing well and are high achievers, many people assume that they don’t have needs, and they are ignored in education and social policy,” Robert Teranishi, a New York University education professor and key author of the report, told AFP.
The “landmark” study was debated recently in the first education “summit” of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), comprising US lawmakers from the communities.
“The myth of student achievement throughout our communities has masked particular linguistic and cultural needs of our young people for far too long,” said Mike Honda, a Japanese American lawmaker who heads CAPAC.
The report shows “how the ‘model minority’ stereotype is harmful, often leading teachers to overlook (these) students, many of whom may require additional academic support,” said Vivien Stewart of the US-based Asia Society and who was on the panel that compiled report.
Furthermore, Asian Americans cannot be generalized as they are an ethnically diverse population having many different languages and dialects with varying economic, social, and cultural factors, the report said.
[Editors Note: “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight,” can be read on-line or downloaded here.]