Education Secretary, Asian Americans Fight Model Minority Myth

By Andrea Salazar

Asian American and Pacific Islanders, as well as Education Secretary Arne Duncan are fighting against the tendency to lump all Asian Americans under a similar umbrella by emphasizing the importance of organizing data to better pinpoint populations.

“We all know that all too often, Asian Americans suffer from that model minority myth,” Duncan said during remarks Friday at the Center for American Progress. “For other Asian American subgroups, like Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, they’re not often on the radar at all when it comes to targeting students with significant educational challenges and real gaps.”

The UCLA report “Forging the Future: The Role of New Research, Data, & Policies for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, & Pacific Islanders” revealed that Southeast Asian Americans have higher rates of poverty than other groups.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who also spoke at the event, said “it really doesn’t make sense to lump together populations as diverse as ours” because the Asian American population is made up of 48 different ethnicities and more than 300 languages.

“If people buy into this misconception that we’re all successful and healthy and graduating from the best schools, then…very critical resources will be diverted away from large segments of our population that suffer from great unemployment, poverty, health disparities and high drop out rates,” Chu said.

Originally for the Talk Radio News Service.

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