Asian-Americans face more school bullying

Asian-American students endure more bullying than others, a new study finds. Fifty-four percent of Asian-American teenagers said they were bullied in the classroom, compared to 38.4 percent of blacks, 34.3 percent of Hispanics and 31.3 percent of whites.

The disparity was even more striking for cyber-bullying.

Some 62 percent of Asian Americans reported online harassment once or twice a month, compared with 18.1 percent of whites.

The data comes from a 2009 survey by the U.S. Justice Department and Education Department which interviewed 6,500 students from ages 12 to 18.

Early college needs to be free

High school students will be guaranteed no-cost access to “early college” classes under the Pathways to College program, which is part of the Harkin-Enzi bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  While some Asian-American students have very high college enrollment and graduation rates, other subgroups, such as Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders, are struggling and should be included in the college completion agenda, a new report argues.

Cutting academics, adding ‘diversity’ czars

The University of California’s budget has been “cut to the bone,” says a spokesman.  Campuses are cutting academic programs — but adding “diversity” functionaries, writes Heather Mac Donald in City Journal.

The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.

Gibor Basri, UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, earns $194,000 in base pay and has 17 people in his office. That could pay for a lot of assistant professors, who start at  $53,000, Mac Donald writes.

To save money, UC San Diego’s Academic Senate has cut master’s programs in electrical and computer engineering and comparative literature and dropped courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature.

At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation. The cultivation of “a student’s understanding of her or his identity,” as the diversity requirement proposal put it, would focus on “African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other groups” through the “framework” of “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, language, ability/disability, class or age.”

“Diversity” is “a code word for narcissism,” Mac Donald concludes.

Asian-Americans make up nearly half of UC-San Diego students (pdf); many major in math, science or engineering. Perhaps “me studies” has to be required because students are too busy taking academic courses in hopes of being able to pay back their student loans.

UC tuition is rising.


Not all Asians complete college

Not all Asian-American students go to Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Cal Tech, a new advocacy group stresses. College-going and graduation rates are very high for East Asian and South Asian students, much lower for Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Also on Community College Spotlight: A new commission will examine the future of community colleges in the 21st century. So far, it’s not going well: More people are seeking education and job training at community colleges, but states can’t afford to maintain funding.

Few black, Hispanic students at elite public school

Few black or Hispanic students qualify for an elite magnet school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in northern Virginia. While blacks and Hispanics make up 33 percent of public school students in the region,  they comprise less than 4 percent of TJ’s student body. “Initiatives to enlarge the pipeline of qualified black and Hispanic students in elementary and middle school have flopped,” reports the Washington Post.  Asian-Americans are now the largest group of students.

Like other public schools with competitive admissions, TJ screens applicants through grades and test scores. A key requirement is that students take Algebra 1 by eighth grade. Many disadvantaged students don’t clear that threshold, which presents a national challenge for science and math instruction.

Competition to get into TJ is fierce. Some private companies charge hundreds of dollars to prepare students for the school’s entrance exam, a two-hour test of math and verbal-reasoning skills. For those who get in, the payoff is clear. The school has an array of laboratories in fields such as biotechnology and microelectronics, and students follow a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum that culminates in a senior research project.

The school adopted race-blind admissions in 1997. In 2004, officials decided to let race and ethnicity be considered as a factor, along with essays and teacher recommendations, once applicants had been screened by test scores and grades. But the admissions rate for blacks and Hispanics continued to fall.

Other selective regional schools have stopped using affirmative action, the Post reports.

Fairfax school officials say that diversifying TJ requires more than making admissions criteria more flexible. It means helping black and Hispanic students keep up with their white and Asian American counterparts at an early age, especially in math and science.

Since 2000, a county program known as Young Scholars has tried to recruit elementary students who might one day attend TJ. More than half of the program’s 3,776 students between kindergarten and eighth grade are black or Hispanic. Next spring, the first 30 Young Scholars will graduate from high school. Only one will be a TJ graduate.

The school’s Parent Teacher Student Association also offers free test-preparation courses for minority students.

Because there’s little diversity, students “are missing out on a critical part of their education,” says Melissa Schoeplein, a history teacher who complains of teaching about race and poverty in classes with no blacks or Hispanics.

In California, many high-achieving Asian-American students come from low-income and working-class immigrant families. I’d bet that’s true in Virginia too.

Via Education Gadfly

SAT scores flat, except for Asians

The class of 2010′s SAT scores were flat, except for Asian-Americans, already the highest-scoring group. From the Wall Street Journal:

Overall, the average score for the graduating class of 2010 in reading remained at 501; climbed in math to 516 from 515; and dropped in writing to 492 from 493, according to scores released Monday.

However, Asian-American students widened their lead by gaining three points in reading, six points in writing and four points in math.  “More than two-thirds took at least four years of science in high school, versus 59% of all test-takers, and 48% of the Asian-Americans took calculus, versus only 28% of the rest of the pool,” College Board officials told the Journal.

Not surprisingly, students who took college-prep courses outperformed those who didn’t. The number of test takers rose by 1.2 percent.

Race and resentment

Given today’s inadvertent theme, here’s Thomas Sowell on Race and Resentment:

Recent stories out of both Philadelphia and San Francisco tell of black students beating up Asian American students.

. . . Resentments and hostility toward people with higher achievements are one of the most widespread of human failings. Resentments of achievements are more deadly than envy of wealth.

When a distinct group rises to prosperity — Sowell cites “the Lebanese in West Africa, the Indians in Fiji, the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire” — they’ve been hated for it.

Achievements are a reflection on others who may have had similar, and sometimes better, chances but who did not make the most of their chances.

. . . Many of our educators, our intelligentsia and our media — not to mention our politicians— promote an attitude that other people’s achievements are grievances, rather than examples.

Hard-working black students are attacked by black classmates for “acting white.” In Britain, high-achieving white students have been beaten up by lower-class white classmates, Sowell writes.

These are poisonous and self-destructive consequences of a steady drumbeat of ideological hype about differences that are translated into “disparities” and “inequities,” provoking envy and resentments under their more prettied-up name of “social justice.”

In the long run, the victims of resentment are the hoodlums, Sowell writes. The achievers get out and move up; the resentful are trapped.

Success factory

Is Northern Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High, a science-and-tech magnet, too successful, asks The Washingtonian. “Why You Should Hate This School” is the subhead.

The public school admits only 16 percent of  applicants. In addition to “whiz-kid scientists, computer jocks, and chess champions . . .  there’s also a professional model who juggles New York gigs with dissecting leeches in neuroscience lab.” Students excel in music . They even do well in sports.

Among the faculty, there’s a fear that the school is becoming a success factory — a place where overachievers are too busy racking up trophies and college credentials to test themselves in the lab or classroom. The nation’s number-one school is asking itself: How much success is too much?

Students are smart — and highly motivated. Teachers complain they’re obsessed with grades.

“They are professional students,” says Emmet Rosenfeld, a former English teacher at Jefferson. “They know how to game anything, and they know how to get A’s.”

We should all have such problems, concludes Education Gadfly, which suggests creating more schools like TJ.

This year, 54 percent of TJ’s ninth graders are Asian-American; whites make up 36 percent of the class. The rap on the school — kids work too hard and care too much about grades — is one I’ve heard often in Silicon Valley with a lot of Asian-American students. Should we hate schools for achievers?

Ivy-bound Asians need extra-high SATs

Asian students accepted to elite private universities in 1997 had much higher SAT scores than whites, Hispanics or blacks, concluded a study by Thomas Epenshade, a Princeton sociology professor. From the Daily Princetonian:

. . . African-American applicants with SAT scores of 1150 had the same chances of being accepted as white applicants with 1460s and Asian applicants with perfect 1600s.

The results of the study come three years after Jian Li, a rejected Princeton applicant, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He alleged in the complaint that he had been discriminated against based on his race when he was denied admission to the University.

Espenshade noted that Asian-American students with high grades and test scores might have had weaker “soft variables,” such as essays, extracurriculars and teacher recommendations.

That’s not likely. College-bound Asian-Americans may be weaker in writing skills, if English is their second language, but they’re just as strong in extracurriculars as their classmates and just as likely to impress teachers. If overcoming adversity wins bonus points, many Asian students should qualify as the children of struggling immigrants.  A more likely explanation is that college admissions staffers want a class balanced in interests — not too many science and math majors — and in appearance.  It’s like the old quotas against Jews.

UC ‘diversity’ means more whites, fewer Asians

University of California’s new admissions policy will increase the number of whites, reduce Asian enrollment and give a very small boost to Hispanics and blacks. The university no longer will require applicants to take three SAT II subject tests. From the San Jose Mercury News:

“It’s affirmative action for whites,” said UC-Berkeley professor Ling-chi Wang.

. . . Under the new policy, according to UC’s own estimate, the proportion of Asian admissions would drop as much as 7 percent, while admissions of whites could rise by up to 10 percent.

California’s Asian-American students are much more likely to take college-prep classes, earn high grades, do well on subject-matter and math tests and apply to public universities.  However, they don’t do quite as well as whites on the SAT I “reasoning” test, which relies on verbal skills, because so many speak English as a second language.

Asian-Americans make up 37 percent of UC students, though they’re only 12 percent of California’s population. At UC-Berkeley, 46 percent of the freshman class is Asian. Giving preferences to students from low-income families qualifies more Asian-Americans for UC.

The only policy change that’s boosted admit numbers for Hispanic and black students is relying more heavily on class rank:  Students with good grades at heavily minority high schools may qualify for UC despite weak test scores.