Racial Stereotypes

Schools where Whites are seen as "the dumb kids"


Often it is helpful to look at a different situation to get perspective on a familiar problem. A big Asian influx into some California high schools can help us understand the more familiar Black - White divide in public education. Many persist in a politically correct belief that the IQ's and test scores of all racial groups would be similar, if only they had an equal opportunity for pre-school, there was no teacher stereotyping, etc. The article below describes a new situation leading to prejudice. One silver lining: the bright Asian-Americans should help the USA compete in world markets.


The New White Flight (excerpts from The Wall Street Journal November 19, 2005)

In Silicon Valley, two high schools with outstanding academic reputations are losing white students as Asian students move in. Why? article by Suein Hwang

Over the past ten years, proportion of white students in Lynnbrook High has fallen by nearly half, to 25% of the student body. At Monta Vista, white students make up less than one-third of the population, down from 43%. Some white Cupertino parents are instead sending their children to private schools or moving them to other, whiter public schools.

Whites aren't quitting these schools because the schools are failing academically. Quite contrary: Many white parents say they're leaving because the schools are too academically driven and too narrowly invested in subjects such as math and science at the expense of the liberal arts and extracurriculars. Other whites fear that by avoiding schools with large Asian populations, parents are short-changing their own children, giving them the idea that they can't compete with Asian kids.

The white exodus clearly involves race-based presumptions, not all of which are positive. One example: Asian parents are too competitive. That sounds like racism to many of Cupertino's Asian residents, who resent the fact their growing numbers and success are causing many white families to boycott the town altogether. Asian immigrants have surged into this town near the high tech industry, granting it a reputation - particularly among recent Chinese and South Korean immigrants - as a Bay Area locale of choice. Cupertino is now 41% Asian, up from 24% in 1998.

At Cupertino's top schools, administrators, parents, and students say white students end up in the stereotyped role often applied to other minority groups: the underachievers. In one 9th grade algebra class, Lynnebrook's lowest level math class, the students are an eclectic mix of whites, Asians, and other racial and ethnic groups. But in advanced placement chemistry, only a couple of the 32 students are white and the rest are Asians.

Ms Gatley, the Monta Vista PTA president, is blunt: "White kids are thought of as the dumb kids," she says. Cupertino's administrators and faculty, the majority of whom are white, adamantly say there's no discrimination against whites. Mr. Rowley, the school superintendent, however, concedes that a perception exists that's sometimes called "the white-boy syndrome." He describes it as; "Kids who are white feel themselves a distinct minority against a majority culture."

Mr. Rowley, who is white, enrolled his only son Eddie, at Lynnbrook. When Eddie started freshman geometry, the boy was frustrated to learn the many of the Asian students in his class had already taken the course in summer school, Mr. Rowley recalls. That gave them a big leg up.

Some of Cupertino's Asian residents say they don't blame white families for leaving. After all, many of the town's Asians are fretting about the same issues. While acknowledging the term Asian embraces a wide diversity of countries, cultures, and languages, they say there's some truth to the criticisms levied against new immigrant parents, particularly those from countries such as China and India, who often put a lot of academic pressure on their children.

Hung Wei, a Chinese-American living in Cupertino, has become an active campaigner in the community encouraging Asian parents to be more aware of their children's emotional development. Ms, Wei. who is co-president of Monta Vista's PTA with Ms. Gatley, says her activism stems from the suicide of her daughter. "We emphasize academics so much and protect our kids. I feel there's something lacking in our education." Ms. Wei says.

For research on Gender and Diversity issues see: http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/podgender.shtml

Go to: News article - classic arguments why Black students underperform

Go to: Possible Causes of IQ Differences among Countries

Go to: Math in Singapore - is it the texts or the students?

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