Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight

Natascha Brooks

The Asian/ Pacific/ American Institute and Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at New York University, CARE and College Board
June 9, 2008

This report's authors hope to kill the stereotype that all Asian-American youngsters are over-achieving math-science whiz kids who crowd into the nation's top universities. Teachers and principals, the report notes, often believe that Asian-American students are a "model minority" that will always excel academically, especially in science and math. Not exactly so. The authors show, for example, that less than half of the Asian-American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is actually pursuing Bachelor's degrees in the STEM fields. The report also claims that, contrary to widespread belief, AAPI students do not congregate only at private universities. In 2000, 101,751 AAPI students were enrolled in private four-year institutions, while 354,564 were enrolled in public four-year schools. Okay. But at the risk of sounding flippant, who cares? The National Center for Education Statistics found that, in the 18- to 24-year-old group, 60.3 percent of AAPI were enrolled in higher education compared to just 31.8 percent of blacks and 24.7 percent of Hispanics. Sure, there are many sub-sets of blacks and Hispanics, too, and their performance differs as well. Continuing this line of analysis, we're all unique individuals, right? The report can be found here.

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