Lack of AANHPI data in Elementary and Secondary Education Act leaves students behind


Lack of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) data in Elementary and Secondary Education Act leaves students behind

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) demands that Congress includes data disaggregation of student outcomes for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students in the conference legislation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

AANHPI students and their families face diverse educational challenges, including disparities in accessing high quality educational opportunities to culturally competent and linguistically appropriate resources. AANHPI students are often stereotyped by the so-called “model minority myth” which is rooted in the misconception that all AANHPI are exceptional students who face no barriers to succeeding in education. This myth masks the diversity and needs of the AANHPI communities.

Collecting data on AANHPI subgroups will help shed light on the achievement gaps so we can all better target support to students who need it most. 

“One out of three Southeast Asian American students drops out of high school, compared to one of 10 Asian Americans overall -- this critical piece of data is missing in district and state reports today.  Without that data, schools are less likely to target resources to address this issue.  Some may not even realize there is a problem to begin with,” said Rita Pin Ahrens, Director of Education Policy at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.  

“Data disaggregation must remain a priority for ESEA because AANHPI students represent a diverse variety of ethnic identities, cultures, languages, and immigration patterns within the AANHPI population. The unique educational challenges and institutional barriers certain groups face remain buried in the mainstream model minority narrative as a result of the categorization of all AANHPI students into one racial identity. Consequently, any kind of performance transparency without data disaggregation AANHPIs will remain a disservice to the AANHPI students that need the most support,” said Gregory Cendana, NCAPA Chair and Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Executive Director.

NCAPA was deeply disappointed that data disaggregation was omitted from both the House and Senate versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bills. NCAPA thanks the members who supported data disaggregation including Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Bobby Scott, Senator Mazie Hirono and Senator Dean Heller for their leadership. 

 NCAPA opposes any version of the ESEA legislation that omits data disaggregation for AANHPI students. Without data disaggregation, our students will continue to suffer in the shadows of our education system. Our ability to access resources, improve our college preparedness and succeed in life after college relies on the quality of the data about the AANHPI communities. 

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