ERIC Number: EJ934714
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 0
The Model Minority Myth: Implications for Independent Schools
Chow, Giselle W.
Independent School, v70 n2 Win 2011
From a distance, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) students appear to be the great success story in education. As a population, they are overrepresented among winners of National Merit Scholarships, U.S. Presidential Scholarships, and are undergraduates at the country's most prestigious universities. They make up three to five times their proportionate share of architects, engineers, physicians, and college professors. They score higher on the SAT and ACT than any other racial group, particularly in math. According to published school report cards mandated by NCLB, they are often grouped with whites in terms of academic achievement. Sometimes they are found to be achieving at rates above that of white students. If people believe that achievement scores are valid measurements of student success, then the AAPI community has nothing to worry about. As a result, AAPI students are often held up in the public eye as the "model minority", worthy of respect, praise, and emulation. So what's the problem? Upon closer scrutiny, the AAPI story changes, becoming cloudier. First, the academic, social, and emotional experiences of AAPI students are far more varied and nuanced than most people think. More importantly, the model minority stereotype, rather than being helpful for the AAPI community, tends to silence and render invisible the complexity of the AAPI community. Because of the subtext of the stereotype--if one minority group is an exemplary model, what's wrong with the other groups?--it also isolates the AAPI community from other communities of color. And in schools, it tends to lead many educators to make broad assumptions about all AAPI students and, thus, to overlook the actual needs of individual students. It is significant that, while the AAPI community constitutes a scant percentage of the overall U.S. population, AAPI students make up the largest racial group of students of color in NAIS-member schools, and have for at least 30 years. In this article, the author discusses how those working in independent schools can serve and engage AAPI students and families well.
Descriptors: Pacific Islanders, Academic Achievement, Asian Americans, Minority Groups, White Students, Private Schools, High Achievement, Disproportionate Representation, Racial Differences, Social Influences, Stereotypes, Misconceptions, Value Judgment
National Association of Independent Schools. 1620 L Street NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-793-6701; Tel: 202-973-9700; Fax: 202-973-9790; Web site: http://www.nais.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A