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What Role Does Race Play In Academic Achievement In California?

What Role Does Race Play In Academic Achievement In California?
What Role Does Race Play In Academic Achievement In California? GUEST:Gilda Ochoa, author, "Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap"

Four years educators have been talking about the achievement gap. The fact that low income students generally scored lower in standardized testing. Many causes have been cited, often including a lack of parental involvement and cultural pressure. Now a new theory is evolving. It involves persistent and pervasive stereotyping of students by the school system itself. Joining me is a Dr. Gilda Ochoa. The author of the book "Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap ". She is speaking on the subject today at STS you. Welcome to the program. Thank you. The title of your book "Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap " , I'm wondering how these two groups Latinas and Asian-Americans are perceived differently in school. I did work at one high school that predominantly were Latinos and Asian-Americans. They were positioned in ways that were extreme opposites. Asian-Americans were within the model minority, they were assumed to be high achievers and good at math and science. I see assumed because that wasn't always the case. Latino students were seen as less caring, less dedicated and somehow their parents didn't have high expectations. They were stereotyped in extreme ways. They were often pit against each other. You start your book by talking about a class of students at Southern high school. In a non-college prep class, what are some things they told you? They had a lot to say. I wanted to understand why they predominated, they were 48% Latinos in that school and that nonprofit -- none college. They blame themselves at first. That hurt. I was wondering what have our schools done that has led to a situation that the students themselves, Inc. it's all their fault. They said things like, we are not a smart, we don't work as hard, it's our fault, we like to party. When we dug deeper, I started to ask them what was going on. They been blamed Asian-Americans, that was another question, why her students blaming their schoolmates? There was a student who challenged the whole idea that it's the individuals fall, he said the school has given up. The teachers, counselors, administrators give all their attention to the honors students. They get all the awards and attention and the forget about us. Much of the work on the achievement gap has been done comparing test scores and things of that nature. You based your research on interviews with students and parents. Why did you take that approach? My senses everybody has something to say about school and education. They are far removed from the classrooms, there pundits they are politicians. I think it's important to go to the source. Let's listen to the people who spend eight hours a day in the classroom. I wanted to listen to students. We interviewed a couple hundred students, teachers and counselors, to see their experiences, what are they saying about schools. Did any of those interviews, or the bulk of them confirm the idea that there is this idea of giving up on a certain class of students? Absolutely. It was heart wrenching to hear too many Latino students, the first question was tell us about yourself? Too many talked about the negative experience in schools. Some couldn't wait to get out. Some said we will prove people wrong. People don't have high expectations, I'm going to go to college, I'm going to go and do good things for my community. That isn't a way that students should define themselves. The Asian-American students said I'm not your typical Asian-American student, when I said they thought they fit the stereotype, they define themselves as opposite. I don't think that's how student should be able to define themselves. You talk about the way the school regulates classes of students. How the discipline them, all sorts of making profiles of the student instead of seeing the students as individuals. Yes. That's where academic profiling comes in. A teacher use that term, he said at the school, there's a form of academic profiling, there's a tendency to give a vegan American students the benefit of the doubt. I saw that in students saw it to -- too. What can schools due to overcome this problem? Yes. Many different layers we need to take. We need to name the processes. These stereotypes are not new, the have a legacy. Unless we're naming them and unlearning them, they will persist. We need to look at our school policies and practices. These are policies such as curriculum tracks, those non-college prep classes compared to honors and AP classes, they are unequal and their resources and support students in them very. We need to look hard and fast at what's happening in our schools that is reinforcing academic profiling and inequality. I've been speaking with Dr. Gilda Ochoa, author of the book "Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap ". Take you for speaking with us. Thank you.

Research on the academic achievement gap is often based on comparing student test scores. But Gilda Ochoa, a professor of Chicana studies and sociology at Pomona College, went straight to the source.

Ochoa, author of "Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap," interviewed hundreds of high school students, counselors and teachers in Southern California to examine how race plays a role in academic success.


At one high school that’s predominantly Latino and Asian-American, Ochoa found that students were stereotyped on opposite ends of the spectrum. While Asian Americans were boxed into the “model minority myth,” Latinos were seen as “less dedicated.”

Ochoa said that when asked about why Latinos mostly made up one non-college preparatory class, the Latino students blamed themselves.

“That hurt because I was wondering what have our schools done that have led to a situation such that the students themselves think it's all their fault,” Ochoa told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. “They said things like, ‘We're not as smart. We don't work as hard. It's our fault. We like to party.’”

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On the other hand, many Asian-Americans Ochoa interviewed often claimed not being the “typical Asian-American student,” acknowledging the higher expectations for them.


Ochoa pointed out the disparity in resources between regular and advanced placement classes.

“We need to look hard and fast at what's happening in our schools that is reinforcing academic profiling and inequality for students,” Ochoa said.