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Lift Every Voice

Diversity and Multicultural News from around the Oregon University System

Asian Americans in Oregon

Oregon Cultural and Educational Series

spring 2006

Volume One

Lift Every Voice Asian American Advisory Group, pictured left to right - Ay Saechao, Phyllis S. Lee, B. Thowpaou Bliatout, Carol Suzuki, Thach Nguyen, Kim Nguyen, Tou Meksavanh, Farah Ibrahim; not pictured, Claire Oliveros and Sho Shigeoka

Dr. Phyllis S. Lee

Guest Commentary

he question is often asked, "Who are Asian Americans?" Or, more pointedly, "What are you?" The answer may be "It depends." It depends on who's asking and who's responding. We're typically identified as Asian Americans by governmental agencies. Some of us proudly choose this identification; others prefer to be recognized by their national or ethnic heritage. While not universally agreed upon, it has been said that geographically, Asian Americans include people from nations that were formerly identified as comprising Asia Minor eastward to the Pacific Ocean, and from the northern reaches of the Asian Arctic southward to the Indian subcontinent and the Philippine and Indonesian archipelagos. Within this vast area are a multitude of nations owning myriad differences (and some similarities) of history, ethnicity, physical characteristics, language, governance, values, customs, food, and other social, cultural, and human dimensions. In this issue, students, teachers, university faculty and professionals share experiences and information that describe academic success as well as the obstacles that may hinder such achievement. The sweeping assumptions of Asian Americans as "model minorities" and uniformly high achievers as well as other stereotypes are examined. Data and recommendations are provided to enable stakeholders to be more informed about Asian American students in Oregon's educational sectors. Increased insights into Asian American students and improvements to educational experiences benefit all students; so that all students, including Asian Americans, are able to acquire an excellent base of knowledge, skills, and tools as they learn and develop in compassionate, caring, and supportive environments.


Oregon University System

Eastern Oregon University, La Grande Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls Oregon State University, Corvallis Portland State University, Portland Southern Oregon University, Ashland University of Oregon, Eugene Western Oregon University, Monmouth Oregon Health & Science University Affiliated; Portland

Lift Every Voice Oregon University System P.O. Box 3175 Eugene, OR 97403 541.346.5725 Editor Yvette Webber-Davis Director, Education Policy and Inclusion Layout and Design Jonathan Jacobs Administrative Assistant

Dr. Lee is a consultant, community advocate, and the retired founding director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Oregon State University.

Spring 2006

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Asian American Contributions to Oregon and to America

By Thach Nguyen and Thomas Le Ngo

hen asked about their contributions to America, many Asians would discuss their hard work to achieve economic success and how this translates into improving the U.S. economy. One example they might use is the Silicon Valley high tech industry in which a large percentage of the workforce, from assemblers to presidents/CEOs, are of Asian descent. Many high profile companies such as Yahoo and Circus Logic were founded or co-founded by Asians. In Oregon, Asian Americans are 3.7% of the total population, slightly lower than the national makeup of 4.4%. Nevertheless, the population's prominence is evident in industries that require high qualifications. When non-Asians are asked the same question, some would say that Asians are well-educated, doing well on all socioeconomic measures, and are productive contributors to the economy of the country (the model minority). However, others would say that Asians don't speak English, don't do well in school, and are dependent on social services and public assistance. Such disparities exist due to the composition of diverse Asian American populations with many groups that differ in language, culture, length of residence in the U.S., and other factors. Some groups have been in the U.S. for several generations, some are recent immigrants who came here to better their economic situation or to obtain an education, and others are newly arrived refugees who fled their homelands with only the clothes on their backs because of persecution or oppression. Asian American populations include a large number of people who are well educated and successful and at the same time there is a large segment that is poverty stricken. The disadvantaged group, which includes many without English language fluency, the elderly, the underemployed and unemployed, fare worse than average on a


number of important socioeconomic measures even as they work hard to move up the economic ladder and make a brighter future for their children. They are the new Americans (immigrants and refugees) who work hard the moment they arrive in the U.S. to make a new life for themselves and their families. The first generation gives tremendous energy and attention to the next generation, often making sacrifices so their children can go to college and in return, their children will work hard in school, graduate, and find a job to support their extended families and younger siblings. The concept of each generation repeating the process for future generations can be found operating in the various Asian American communities in Oregon. Umang Patel* is in his second year at Oregon State University. He takes over 20 credits a term, maintaining a 3.53 GPA. Patel's drive comes from a common goal that is exemplified by many Asians--helping the family out. Patel's friends and relatives always remind him of his responsibilities. "They keep me focused," said Patel. "They keep reminding me to get done early because my family is depending on me." Patel plans to receive his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in Winter 2007 and hopes to work at NASA or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory after college. Hoa Nguyen*, her three brothers, two sisters, and parents didn't know anyone when they arrived in the U.S. The family spent their life savings to move from Vietnam to the Philippines, where they hoped to be selected to immigrate to the U.S. Eventually, they found a new home in Portland with new challenges. During the summer, the family wakes up at 5 a.m. to pick strawberries and her parents work several jobs to support their family. Hoa,

* Umang Patel and Hoa Nguyen are both Gates Millennium Scholars and attended public schools in Portland. Patel graduated from Marshall H.S. in 2004 and Nguyen graduated from Madison H.S. in 2005.

Hoa Nguyen on graduation day

now a freshman college student majoring in biology and Spanish, aims to become a doctor. Overall, Asian Americans contribute hundreds of millions to the local and national economy and pay hundreds of millions in taxes annually and have made important contributions in different arenas such as medicine, education, science, and business. These vastly diverse ethnic groups have contributed rich cultural traditions and unique experiences to enrich the fabric of American society. But the most important contribution that no one can deny is that Asian Americans are making America stronger by keeping the American dream alive, believing in the promise of our country and making America's future brighter for future generations. In his book In Search of America , Peter Jennings highlighted the work of the Immigrant Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), a non-profit organization in Portland that is dedicated to serving newly arrived immigrants and refugees from throughout the world. He signed a copy of his book when he visited Portland and his short, simple yet powerful message to IRCO staff and to the new immigrants and refugees summed it up best, "You make such a difference! You are so good for America. Thank you."

Thomas Le Ngo graduated from Portland's Marshall H.S. and is currently a student at the University of Portland. Thach Nguyen is President of the Asian Pacific Network of Oregon (APANO) and represents the organization in the Coalitions for Educational Excellence in Portland.


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Spring 2006

Diversity of Asian Americans

life. There were challenges of meeting basic necessities. Yeng Cha, a Hmong American, remembers when her parents and siblings first came to the states in 1978 and the difficulties of adjusting to a new environment, "my parents had a hard time finding housing and food; learning English was difficult, and I remember how hard it was for my parents to find transportation to work." Whether they represent earlier generations of Asian Americans of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or Filipino descent who have established themselves in the U.S. for over a century, or recent Southeast Asian refugees and immigrants, Asian Americans are invested in the U.S., building communities and opportunities. Thousands of Asians become naturalized each year. Amy Hwang Powers, a second generation Korean American praises the Korean community for endeavors made, and the future of their youth. "We are very strong and healthy and have a big sense of community and helping others. Korean youth are upcoming leaders. We are doing a lot to guide them, and our Elders are proud of us for that." There are many achievements and successes in the Asian American communities of Oregon. Amy Hwang Powers is the Mayor's Youth Advisory Board Coordinator for the City of Beaverton, and assists in her father's UPS store during the busy holiday season. Chuong Huynh is the Parent and Family Organizer at Asian Family Center, a community agency in Portland, and Yeng Cha serves as the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods Site Manager at Lents Elementary in Southeast Portland. With all the success, the intricate challenges that still exist must be acknowledged. Grouping all Asian Americans in the same category can be misleading and detrimental to each community and the public agencies that serve them. The term "Asian American" includes a vast number of different ethnic groups, languages, experiences, backgrounds, and unique struggles. It is important to recognize the diversity and variance within the population, and with that, someday a grade school student will guess correctly my ethnicity.

by Ay Saechao Youth Leaders Project Coordinator Westview High School Beaverton School District


remember when I was in elementary school, my classmates would ask if I was Chinese or Japanese. I really had no idea why they thought I was either because I didn't think I had Chinese or Japanese physical features. Now, working for the Beaverton School District, I often find myself encountering curious third graders who ask me the same question. As always, I tell them to guess and I'll let them know when they're correct. With much amusement and delight on my part, they usually expand much further than Chinese or Japanese and include Vietnamese, Cambodian, Taiwanese, Filipino, Korean, and Thai. Though no one has been correct with their guesses, I am impressed by the knowledge students today have of a broader range of Asian people. The Asian American communities in Oregon represent over 25 different ethnic groups, many of which are recognized by the 2000 U.S. Census. The communities represent different experiences; families who have made Oregon and the United States their home for many generations, and for others, the beginning of a new life in a new land. Chuong Huynh, his father and brother along with many other Southeast Asian refugees fled persecution during and immediately after the Vietnam War to seek opportunities and freedom. Chuong recalls that "my father and family escaped from Vietnam because of our involvement in the war... we came to America to find better opportunities." Upon resettling to Oregon, many Southeast Asians had a difficult time adjusting to a new


Spring 2006

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Mental Health Considerations Less attention has been focused on the mental health of AAPI youth. This is, in part, due to traditional Asian cultural values of associating mental health problems with weakness on the part of the individual, bringing shame to the family, and Asians having a more holistic concept of health rather than making a distinction between physical and mental health. Mental health problems among AAPI youth are well documented. In Oregon, one out of every ten youth has symptoms of mental or behavioral disorders. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed chronic mental health problem among young children. Among Oregon 8th and 11th graders, 18.7% of males and 35% of females reported symptoms of depression. Native Hawaiian adolescents have a risk for suicide attempts three times higher than non-Native Hawaiian adolescents ages 10-14.3 Mental health problems can affect academic performance more than chronic health conditions. For example, ADHD has a direct effect on cognition and behavior. Children with ADHD typically score significantly lower on standardized tests of mathematics and reading than other children. AAPI youth face a number of unique stressors. As AAPI youth become more acculturated to the American culture, the connection with their parents' value system might diminish. This change in Asian youths' values may be a major source of stress within the family, and thus lead to emotional problems. A recent study found that despite performing well academically, AAPI adolescents rated themselves more poorly on several psychosocial areas. AAPI youth reported more depression symptoms, poorer interpersonal relationships, and social isolation.4 For AAPI youth, reconciling conflicting messages from two different cultures can lead to conflict, confusion, stress and isolation. Recommendations To understand and address the health and mental health issues of AAPI youth, it is important to consider the diversity of

Mental and Physical Health of Asian American Youth

AAPI subgroups face; using aggregate data makes identifying actual differences in health and mental health of these subgroups difficult. Health Considerations There are differences and potential health problems among different AAPI groups. For example, AAPI male high school youth have the lowest smoking rates in the U.S. compared to all ethnic groups (20.6%) except African Americans. In contrast, an ethnic-specific, in-language study found that Vietnamese male youth have significantly higher levels of tobacco use and were as likely to smoke (27.9%) as white male youth (28.3%).1 In Oregon, the AAPI groups with the highest smoking rates are Chinese (19%), Vietnamese (17%), and Korean (11%). Six percent of 11th grade males use smokeless tobacco.2 Other health conditions common to AAPI youth and varying by subgroup include lead poisoning, asthma, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B. Health problems among AAPI youth are further complicated by issues of access, language and cultural barriers. For example: · Korean Americans have one of the highest rates of health "uninsurance" among all racial and ethnic groups (34%), almost 2.5 times higher than the rate among whites (14%). · In many Asian communities, smoking is a symbol of affluence and sophistication as well as hospitality and friendship where cartons of cigarettes are often given as gifts. Health problems can directly and indirectly affect a youth's academic performance. For example, asthma directly impairs a child's cognition and causes behavior problems by crowding out other activities such as doctor visits; results in stress, fatigue, and pain that can interfere with cognitive and social development; and it can alter how parents treat the child.

by Amy Mee-Ran Kobus, PhD Licensed Psychologist Willamette Valley Family Center Asian Family Center of IRCO


ost of the focus on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth is on academics rather than on health and mental health or the impact of these factors on academic performance. This article highlights some of the health and mental health issues of AAPI youth, identifies unique challenges that AAPI youth face that can contribute to health and mental health problems and the subsequent impact on academic functioning, and offers recommendations. Despite the fact that the AAPI population continues to be one of the fastest growing populations in the United States, AAPI health and mental health concerns have historically been a low priority. Debilitating stereotypes, such as the "model minority" myth continue to limit identification of key health and mental health challenges and social programs for this community. AAPI's are often treated as one large undifferentiated group. The aggregate data indicate that AAPI's, as a group, are doing well when various subgroups are not. This practice ignores the diversity within the AAPI population and masks the very real challenges that some


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AAPI and identify each subgroups' unique challenges. Having said that, the following recommendations are made: · Use community-based organizations or schools to increase access to health care, and linguistic and cultural expertise. · Conceptualize health and mental health holistically as "general health" to destigmatize personal and emotional problems. · Build upon cultural traditions that serve as strengths for youth. AAPI families often have high educational aspirations and motivations for their children. Develop culturally appropriate strategies that actively involve parents. · Support emotional and behavioral growth while respecting parental values on academics. · Assist youth with the very real pressures that are part of their familial duty in order to help them minimize potential distractions from their academics. References

Spring 2006


by Sho Shigeoka Counselor & Equity Coordinator Beaverton School District

Educational Issues Facing Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders

1. National Asian Women's Health Organization. (2000). Health risks and need for prevention: a tobacco report on Southeast Asian youth. San Francisco, CA. 2. Department of Human Services (2005). Oregon Healthy Youth Survey. Portland, OR.

sian students are all excellent students," is a comment often heard in educational settings. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are typically excluded from the conversations about closing the achievement gap; implying that there are no educational issues facing AAPI communities. While some AAPI students have made significant academic achievement, the assumption that AAPI students are "all successful" is a myth. There are two major factors that interfere with the success of AAPI students: the model minority myth and complex diversity among AAPI populations.


ity myth "conceals disparate educational achievement within and among AAPI ethnic groups and has hindered attention to real educational concerns." (Hune & Chan, 1997) Diversity among AAPI populations The broad category of AAPI includes diversity of ethnicity, language, generation, socioeconomic characteristics, and other social and cultural factors. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of data that portrays each of the ethnic groups. Data indicate that there is variation in student achievement and educational attainment among AAPI populations. Ethnicity With numerous ethnic groups represented in the AAPI population, educational achievement and attainment vary significantly across these diverse groups. While some AAPI groups have high levels of educational attainment, others have significantly lower attainment than the national average. According to Census 2000 data, 53.3% of Cambodians, 59.6% of Hmong, and 49.6% of Lao over 25 years of age have less than a high school education in contrast to 13.3% of Asian Indians, 12.7% of Filipinos, and 8.9% of Japanese. (Lee & Kumashiro, 2005) Language There are over 100 languages spoken by AAPI, and according to the 2000 Census, 79% of AAPI speak a language other than English at home. While some groups are monolingual English speakers (e.g. third generation and other American born AAPI), most AAPI speak a language other than English or in addition to English. Limited English proficiency is a critical

Educational Issues page 8

"Model Minority" Myth AAPI populations are often referred to as model minorities who have experienced significant educational and economic 3. Nishimura, S.T., Goebert, D.A., Ramisetty-Mikler, S., successes. The assumption that all AAPI & Caetano, R. (2005). Adolescent alcohol use and suicide indicators among adolescents in Hawaii. Cultural Diverstudents are hard-working, well-behaved, sity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 11(4), 309-320. "whiz kids" negatively impacts AAPI students at all levels ­ individual, classroom, 4. Lorenzo, M.K., Frost, A.K., & Reinherz, H.Z. (2000). Social and emotional functioning of older Asian school, and school systems in general. American adolescents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Many AAPI students have internalized the Journal, 17(4), 289-304. myth and feel pressured to meet or exceed the expectations. Those who do not have an interest or skills in certain subject areas, or school in general, may fail or drop out altogether. When teachers buy into the myth, there are consequences Additional Resources for teaching and learning within classroom settings. One student The Asian Reporter Directory (OR) said, "I feel stupid asking for help in math because my teacher believes Asian American Community Bulletin Board I should be good at it because I am Asian." One report eloquently summarizes that the model minor-


Spring 2006

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most find that the experience becomes more comfortable with time. They often will become very actively involved and meet lifelong friends within these groups. "My parents call me constantly about my younger brother... they expect me to make him do what they want and to come home every weekend." The Asian American child who is the oldest child usually feels a significant amount of responsibility to carry out the wishes of his or her parents. Unfortunately, Asian American parents may not realize how much pressure their child feels to carry out their wishes, often to the detriment of their own academic progress and success. If a student is studying for exams or working on a project, a call from home will often totally distract them from their course work. Most parents do not realize that pressuring their child does not help their child perform to the best of their abilities academically. Asian American parents want their children to succeed, and they can help them to be even more successful by understanding the pressures already on students and limiting requests for help with the family. "I know my parents care about me... they ask me if I have eaten... they believe that I should just try harder but I feel so down... what is wrong with me?" Asian American students know that their parents ask them if they have eaten as a way of saying "I love you." Sometimes, however, it is easy for students to insist that they are fine even when they are not. We have worked with students who have ultimately been diagnosed as clinically depressed,

Transitions from High School to Higher Education

by Janet Nishihara and Sandy Tsuneyoshi


sian American students face several challenges in their transition from high school to post-secondary education. The types of challenges they face and the way they face those challenges can depend on many factors, including immigration and generation status, community, birth order, and cultural identity. All students entering higher education face developmental issues in the personal, interpersonal, cultural and academic/career areas of their lives. In addition, Asian American students may face issues regarding their minority status, prejudice, and discrimination. The following are examples of issues and concerns presented by Asian American students whose first names could be Meng, Joe, Moneeka, Tranh, or YoungSook and whose last names could be Nguyen, Sakata, Chang, Park, Patel, or Xiong.

not do well and which they do not enjoy. As with all populations, Asian American college students should be encouraged to explore career alternatives that suit their interests and that will provide fulfilling and interesting careers. "My parents do not like me being away from home because they think I will lose my culture." Although this is a common fear, usually the opposite happens in that students can become even more saturated in their culture while in college because of the learning opportunities provided that were not available before. This is especially true for students who take an Asian American Studies class and/or become involved in cultural student organizations. Students taking courses in the Asian American experience begin to understand the struggles and successes that our Asian American ancestors faced and overcame. Planning and presenting cultural programs on campus will provide opportunities for Asian American students to learn more about their own cultures and the cultures of people from around the world, while also enhancing the overall learning environment. "I grew up as one of only a few Asians in my school. I don't know why I feel uncomfortable around a lot of other Asian students."

"My parents want me to be a pharmacist but I am not doing well in the sciences and I don't like math." The expectations of parents for their children to pursue a degree and a career in a field that will ensure economic success can result in a significant amount of distress. It is understandable that a student's success in Asian American families does not mean individual success but success that will be shared to support the whole family and possibly help their siblings also attend college. Unfortunately, advisors and parents sometimes fail to encourage the exploration of careers that will be satisfying for the child, nor do they consider that the areas the child can do well in might be the best choice for a career. Sadly, some students persist in majors to please their parents and end up doing very poorly in courses which they don't like to the detriment of their overall grade point average. They jeopardize their entire college careers in order to pursue a degree in which they do

Asian American students who grow up in isolated communities where there is limited contact with the Asian community, or where there are very few Asians in their school, may have difficulties in relating to other Asian Americans. Their Asian American identity may be at a place where they do not have any Asian American friends and do not date anyone who is Asian. Many students with this background have found that attending a meeting of an Asian American student organization may at first be overwhelming but Clockwise from top-left ­ Dara Khon, Jee Lee, Janet Nishihara, Cha Young Mayner, Sandy Tsuneyoshi, Shaun Palakiko, Sam Lee


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meaning that they have disturbances in sleeping, eating, feeling motivated, and concentrating. Some students will even begin to withdraw from friends and activities. Parents may urge them to just try harder; however, depression is a medical condition that cannot be resolved by just trying harder. It is like telling a student with a bleeding ulcer to try harder so it doesn't bleed. Often, medication and/or therapy have been found to be effective, but parents may not understand or support these types of treatment. The student may end up blaming themselves for not trying harder and ultimately feel more depressed. Parental encouragement for their child to seek professional assistance will go a long way toward helping that student be successful in college. Every student will experience college in a different way. Some will find it an exhilarating experience, full of new adventures. Some will struggle mightily and perhaps even take a break in their education. No matter what their experience is like, there are professionals at every institution who have the training and experience to support students in their quest for a college education and a better life for themselves and their families. Asian American students are among the future leaders of our world. While they may face barriers which threaten to hold them back, many before have overcome these barriers with the support of caring faculty and staff who are there to help them achieve their goals. Dr. Janet Nishihara is Academic and Counseling Coordinator in the Educational Opportunities Program at Oregon State University. Dr. Sandy Tsuneyoshi is Coordinator of the Asian Pacific Education Center at Oregon State University.

Spring 2006

Interesting Facts

According to the 2000 U.S. Census:

· Although some Asian groups, such as the Chinese and Japanese, have been represented in the U.S. for several generations, other groups such as the Hmong, Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians tend to be more recent immigrants.

· The poverty rates of specific Asian groups varied. Overall, 12.6% of Asians were in poverty, compared with 12.4% of the total U.S. population. The highest individual poverty rates were among the Hmong (37.8%) and Cambodians (29.3%); the lowest individual poverty rates were among Filipinos (6.3%), Japanese (9.7%), and Asian Indians (9.8%).

Reflections on the Model Minority Myth

by Carol Suzuki Chair Oregon Commission on Asian Affairs

rowing up in a small, rural community, I didn't know that I had fallen victim to the "model minority" myth. Looking back now, I can see how expectations from both society and my parents shaped my educational experiences. Like many parents, including those with immigrant roots, my parents stressed that I do my best in school and get a good education so I could one day go to college. I had the added pressure of high teacher expectations ­ that somehow I was supposed to get straight A's, to finish first in the spelling bee, and to never get into trouble. When I was not always able to scale those heights, I always felt like such a failure. What was wrong with me? Wasn't I supposed to be smart? Shouldn't math and science be easy for me? Sometimes Asian students can unwittingly buy into the myth by putting undue pressure on themselves to be number one. The term "model minority" was first coined in the mid-1960s by William Pe-


terson, a social demographer. Peterson described some Asian Americans as an example of a formerly marginalized group who, because of their family and cultural values, hard work and determination, had risen above the ranks of "problem minorities." The broader myth often includes classification of Asian Americans as having achieved the American Dream by being brought up strictly by their parents, coming from a homogeneous background with shared family and work ethics, obtaining a good education, and landing a job with a good salary. Perhaps one of the most damaging consequences of being perceived as a model minority group is that it encourages alienation by and from other minority groups. There are a great many variables that are overlooked and over generalized. Broad generalizations by group ­ such as the "model minority myth" must be abandoned and people must be educated on this issue. Without progress in this area, many Asian Americans and people of other backgrounds will continue to be marginalized and ignored when they could benefit greatly from deeper understanding.

· Overall, the median income of Asian families was $9,000 higher than the median for all families ($59,300 compared with $50,000); however, median family income varied from $32,384 for Hmong to $70,849 for Japanese.

· About 79% of Asians aged 5 and over spoke a language other than English at home and about 40% spoke English less than "very well." The proportion of Asians who spoke a language other than English at home ranged from 47% for Japanese to 96% for Hmong. Over 90% of Cambodians, Hmong, Laotians, Pakistanis, and Vietnamese spoke a language other than English at home. Over 50% of Japanese spoke only English at home.

· Approximately 80% of both "all Asians" and "all people" in the U.S. ages 25 and older had at least a high school education. However, 44% of Asians, compared to 24% of the total population, had earned at least a bachelor's degree. About 64% of Asian Indians had a bachelor's degree; whereas about 60% of Hmong, 53% of Cambodians, and 50% of Laotians had less than a high school education.

Source ­ We the People: Asians in the United States, U.S. Census Bureau, December 2004.


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Educational Issues

continued from page 5

issue that has serious implications for educational achievement. Parents with limited English proficiency also face barriers to involvement in their children's education, often resulting in lower levels of educational achievement. Generational Status In general, there are three different generational backgrounds found in today's AAPI communities: U.S.-born, with a long family history in the U.S.; recent immigrants (primarily East and Southeast Asians); and those with a colonial or neo-colonial relationship with the U.S. (e.g., many Pacific Islanders). U.S.-born Asian Americans often battle with a perpetual foreigner stereotype in addition to the model minority myth, which can interrupt their pursuit of educational attainment. Students from immigrant families often face numerous language and cultural barriers within the educational pipeline. Many Pacific Islanders struggle with a loss of culture and language due to colonization, an issue similar to Native American populations. There are differences also in the circumstances of U.S. settlement and immigration: some came to the U.S. voluntarily while others came as refugees, or for political asylum. Socioeconomic Status While the model minority myth characterizes AAPI as a group that has overcome social and economic barriers, the reality

paints a completely different picture. As a group, more AAPI live in poverty than others within the U.S. population; yet, the median family income is slightly higher than that of the total U.S. population. Even though the median income may be higher, AAPI tend to live in more crowded conditions and have more wage earners contributing to total family income. Within-group variability in poverty rates also illustrates a complex economic situation in AAPI communities. Southeast Asian communities have higher rates of poverty than other AAPI groups. Socioeconomic status has a significant impact on the readiness for learning and subsequent academic achievement for many AAPI children. Recommendations In contrast to the multiple stereotypes and myths, the diversity among AAPI students is broad and deep, with equally complex educational needs. As educators,

policy makers, families, and communities strive to support the success of all students, it is imperative that stakeholders have a better understanding of the challenges facing AAPI students. Considerations to better promote the academic success of diverse AAPI students include: · Disaggregate data to accurately reflect diverse needs within AAPI groups · Refute the model minority myth · Explore and understand societal influences that have an impact on AAPI students · Identify and address the needs of highrisk AAPI students · Foster research on specific AAPI populations References

Lee, S. & Kumashiro, K. K (2005). A Report on the Status of Asian Americnas and Pacific Islanders in Education: Beyond the "Model Minority" Stereotype. National Education Association. Hune, S. & Chan K. (1997). Special Focus: Asian Pacific American Demographic and Educational Trends. Minorities in Higher Education: 1996-97 Fifteenth Annual Status Report. pp. 39 - 107.

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Asian American Advisory Group

Dr. Phyllis S. Lee, Advisory Group Chair Dr. Bruce Bliatout, Multnomah County Department of Human Services Dr. Farah Ibrahim, Department Chair, Teacher and Counselor Education, Oregon State University Ms. Tou Meksavanh, Principal, Duniway Elementary School, Portland Ms. Kim Nguyen, MSW, ESL Multicultural Specialist, Portland Public Schools Mr. Thach Nguyen, Chair, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) Ms. Claire Oliveros, Coordinator, Multicultural Center, Portland Community College ­ Sylvania Campus Mr. Ay Saechao, Youth Leaders Project Coordinator, Westview High School, Beaverton School District Ms. Sho Shigeoka, Counselor & Equity Coordinator, Westview High School, Beaverton School District Ms. Carol Suzuki, Chair, Oregon Commission on Asian Affairs

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