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Asian Americans in Class

Charting the Achievement Gap Among Korean American Youth

Jamie Lew

144 pages
Teachers College Press
This book challenges the “model minority” stereotype of Asian American students as a critical step toward educating all children well. Focusing on Korean American youth in New York City schools, Jamie Lew compares high-achieving students attending an elite magnet high school with students who have dropped out of a neighborhood high school. She finds that class, race, social networks, parental strategies, and schooling resources all affect the aspirations and academic achievement of Asian American youth. This in-depth examination: Debunks the simplistic “culture of poverty” argument that is often used to explain the success of Asian Americans and the failure of other minorities. Illustrates how Asian Americans, in different social and economic contexts, negotiate ties to their families and ethnic communities, construct ethnic and racial identities, and gain access to good schooling and institutional support. Offers specific recommendations on how to involve first-generation immigrant parents and ethnic community members in schools to foster academic success. Looks at implications for developing educational policies that more fully address the needs of second-generation children.
Author Bio
Jamie Lew is an assistant professor of urban education at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.