Sunday, July 14, 2013

iCount Conference demonstrates need for quality data on Pacific Islanders and Asians

In case you missed it, we wanted to call your attention to an interesting conferences focused on a topic near to our mission: disaggregation of Pacific Islander and Asian American data.  Earlier this summer, a two day conference was held in Washington DC, hosted by the Educational Testing Services (ETS) and the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE), along with the support of the U.S. Department of Education. The conference, called iCount: A Data Quality Movement for AAPI in Higher Education, can be viewed now by following this link: here

The conference attendees noted that Asians and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders comprise the first (Asian) and second (Pacific Islanders) fastest growing racial groups in the United States.  Speakers also recognized that despite the tendency to group both categories together, the dozens of sub-groups show significant diversity. In terms of education, the lack of accurate AAPI data prevents policy makers from identifying achievement gaps and addressing the educational needs of subgroups that require more attention and resources.

Congresswoman Judy Chu, PhD, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, discussed how the application of the "model minority" myth does not follow the real data on Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans, citing high school graduation rates for Southeast Asians and college completion rates for Pacific Islanders: 

“In reality, the diversity of the needs within this community is very deep, and the stereotype ignores the challenges of sub populations that are being left behind in classrooms all across America. The high school dropout rate among Southeast Asian Americans is staggering. 40% of Hmong, 38% of Laotian, and 35% of Cambodian populations do not complete high school. According to the 2010 census, 47% of Guamanian, 50% of Native Hawaiians, 54% of Tongans, 58% of Samoans who entered college left without earning a degree. Without comprehensive data about these students, glaring disparities in academic achievements continue to remain invisible.”

The Pacific Islander Access project is proud to support the efforts of iCount's organizers and everyone else dedicated to helping decision makers understand the true needs of America's growing Pacific Islander community. 


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