To the Editor:
Thank you for finally acknowledging the struggles as well as the successes of Asian-American students (“The ‘Other’ Gap,” In Perspective, Feb. 14, 2007). As a young Filipino teacher in the public school system, I am continually disheartened by the omission of Asian-American students in the ongoing achievement-gap dialogue.
It saddens me that the educational climate for today’s Asian-American students has changed little since my own K-12 experience. Asian students are consistently treated as one mass and are forced on a daily basis to speak for an entire group, while battling for individual recognition in the eyes of their teachers and peers. In this age of high-stakes testing, when our students are cut and divided by subgroups and socioeconomic status, the real dynamics of Asian-Americans’ academic performance will never be appropriately recognized.
Perhaps if we challenged ourselves to look more critically at the factors that influence the academic performance of specific groups of Asian students, we would be better equipped to develop strategies that meet the needs of even more learners—both Asian and non-Asian—in the public schools.
Until then, we are complicit in maintaining the “model minority” stereotype even as we knowingly overlook the needs of struggling Asian-American students.
Robyn P. Viloria
A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2007 edition of Education Week as Even the ‘Model Minority’ Has Students With Needs