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Forgotten History: Educational and Social Antecedents of High Achievement among Asian Immigrants in the United States

José Macias
Curriculum Inquiry
Vol. 23, No. 4 (Winter, 1993), pp. 409-432
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
DOI: 10.2307/1180067
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1180067
Page Count: 24
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Forgotten History: Educational and Social Antecedents of High Achievement among Asian Immigrants in the United States
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Abstract

Recent studies of ethnic minority group education in the United States include comparative analyses between the growing cohort of Asian-Americans and the ethnic minorities of longer standing. The educational record of Asian-Americans, especially that of recent immigrants, tends to be markedly superior to the patterns of poor school adjustment, low achievement, and high dropout rates among American Indians, blacks, and Hispanics. A current view in the literature posits a causal link between group cultural traits and the apparent paradox of Asian success and ethnic minority failure patterns. But a historical view shows that many Asian immigrants have received in their home countries a rigorous education tending to focus on science, technology, and related areas. In the United States they are a select group whose succeeding generations replicate their parents' upwardly mobile educational and economic patterns that surpass those of all other ethnic groups, even whites. Asian immigrant successes are largely a product of institutional and social treatments but so are other structural effects, including their relatively few study and occupational choices, an occupational ceiling, as well as the social problems, poor economic mobility, and problematic educational experiences of many from certain Asian ethnic groups. Historical, structural factors and cultural politics are key to a comparative understanding of the diversity and commonality of ethnic group experiences in the United States.

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