Lack of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Data in Elementary and Secondary Education Act Leaves Students Behind

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEC. 2, 2015

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;

 

mary@ncapaonline.org

   

Lack of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Data in Elementary and Secondary Education Act Leaves Students Behind

“We are deeply disappointed that the final version of legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act offers only window dressing on the vital issue of data disaggregation for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Earlier this year, there was bipartisan support in the Senate to require school districts with more than 1,000 AAPI students to report disaggregated data by the major race categories in the Census. That provision—while only narrowly defeated—has been so watered down that it now only requires the Department of Education to provide technical assistance to states—not even school districts—upon request."

“Over 180 national, state, and local organizations endorsed the bipartisan provision to include better data on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders, and over 1,000 AANHPI students across the country submitted photos to demand action from our Congressional leaders on this issue,” said Rita Pin Ahrens, director of education policy at Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and co-chair of the NCAPA education committee. “Given that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a civil rights bill intended to provide equitable educational opportunities for disadvantaged students, we are deeply disappointed that meaningful action was not taken to help address the achievement gaps within our diverse communities.  Unless we first reveal the disparities and challenges within our communities, how can we ensure they have the resources to succeed academically?  How can we ensure that the needs of our students are truly being met when our public schools continue to treat all AANHPI students the same?”

NCAPA member organization Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund launched the #NotTheSame campaign yesterday to challenge stereotypes facing Asian American and Pacific Islanders, highlighting the struggles students face that are often unheard, including poverty and homelessness.

We have made incremental progress, as this legislation formally recognizes that achievement data that is not disaggregated “can mask particular challenges that ethnic minorities within each subgroup face.” But this fig leaf is not enough. Congress must actually unmask the challenges and then help our students overcome them.

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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.


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