Education Letter to the Editor

‘Asian Success Formula’ Ignores Vast Diversity

April 18, 2006 1 min read

To the Editor:

Deanna Kuhn’s March 8, 2006, Commentary (“Does the Asian Success Formula Have a Downside?”) is problematic for several reasons:

The very term “Asian success formula” ignores the vast diversity of students in U.S. schools from various Asian ethnic groups—diversity in social class, context of immigration, family educational background, cultural norms, and language.

Ms. Kuhn makes sweeping assumptions about Asians as a whole, without compelling data to support her claims. The assumption of one formula for success, without a definition of success, perpetuates the model-minority myth; obscures the systemic, institutionalized racism toward Asians in our schools; and hides the specific educational needs of ethnic subgroups, particularly English-language learners.

I suggest that Ms. Kuhn provide more in-depth research that illuminates patterns of student performance, along with survey responses disaggregated by ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and parent educational history for all subgroups within racial categories. We serve our children best when we understand the strengths and differences of each culture—for Asians, these include Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and many others.

Rosann Tung

Research Director

Center for Collaborative Education

Boston, Mass.