FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 4, 2016
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Applauds Department of Education for Naming Rita Pin Ahrens to Rulemaking Committee
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) commends the selection of Rita Pin Ahrens as an individual negotiator for the United States Department of Education Elementary and Secondary Education Act negotiated rulemaking committee. This committee is responsible for making recommendations that impact education policy and help underrepresented students.
“We congratulate Rita Pin Ahrens on her appointment to this important committee,” said National Director Christopher Kang. “NCAPA was proud to nominate Rita to this position because of her tireless and effective advocacy as Co-Chair of our Education Committee and as the Director of Education Policy for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). We thank the Department of Education for recognizing Rita’s expertise and experience in representing the needs of English learners and the historically underserved Southeast Asian American community and her representation of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students during consideration of this legislation.”
“I am pleased to join the negotiated rulemaking process,” said Ahrens. “It is my hope that my perspective as a former public school teacher and student, a daughter of refugee parents who struggled to understand and navigate the American public education system, and as a parent, I can enrich the discussion around how assessments and federal funds are implemented and used to improve educational opportunities for all children.”
Diversity in negotiators is vital to ensuring that the needs of all students, including AANHPI students, are represented during the rulemaking process. AANHPI students are faced with the “model minority myth,” which masks the true diversity in educational challenges, including disparities in accessing high quality educational opportunities and culturally competent and linguistically appropriate resources. With representation during this important stage of the process, the “model minority myth” will not hinder opportunities for our students.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.