The Playing Field is Already Leveled – Asian American Success Rates

educator in math class

Photo credit: US Gov Dept of Education

The subject of Asian American success in education seems almost taboo these days. It keeps coming up in one form or another; books, social media and on the news. These kids are given the same opportunities and go through the same school system as all other kids in the US, but consistently come out ahead on testing and college applications. Where is this success coming from?

It can be said that United States education doesn’t compare to academics in other industrialized parts of the world, including parts of Asia. Teachers in the United States go through educational programs and training, comparative to the the formal training for teachers in Asia. The American Education system is underfunded and not getting students prepared for college, whereas in parts of Asia, kids are thriving and schools are churning out talented college ready students.

An article in the New York Times talks specifically about first generation Asian American children, their struggles, but also their success in school. With standardized tests, applications and GPAs, there is a very real way to statistically compare Asian American student’s success ability achieve consistently higher than others.

If other students aren’t at the same level of achievement, than what’s the difference? The pride and work ethic of families really comes into play here.

Authors like Amy Chua write on the topic of Chinese mothers and their parenting skills, and more recently, work on success in America and breaking this out to different cultural groups. A Huffington Post article discusses her most recent work which picks apart different cultural groups in relation to success. She caused quite a debate on the topic, but people are reading and listening. What this all boils down to a tough work ethic and family values.

Teachers in the States argue that their professional careers are worth more than the salary that is currently offered, but over in Asia, teachers earn less than they do in the US. This is another example that points that individual success might not be about schools and education. Asian kids in America are expected to try their hardest and excel academically.

This message isn’t coming from the schools through, this is coming from the parents. As stereotypical as it sounds, many arguments hold up with this conclusion.

In Asian countries family and pride are everything. When those from Asian countries move to the the United States and raise children, these values for perfection are embedded. Success here in the States can come from many factors, but it cannot be denied that family values and an intense work ethic lead to successful young Asian Americans.