Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Progressive Paradox: The Asian Quota

New York City’s Stuyvesant High School

Meritocracy is America’s progressive elite’s central contradiction. Liberals are anti-capitalist, and in that respect, willing to recut the pie away from business success toward “equality” that sends resources to disadvantaged (mostly Democratic) voters.

Equality hits a wall, however, when it comes to academic achievement--the path to progressive advancement. It's true progressives do use a poorly-working “affirmative action” system to buy off future leaders of America’s disadvantaged groups.

But what about disadvantaged Asian-Americans? Part of the minority-based liberal coalition, Asian-Americans not only don’t need “affirmative action,” they increasingly realize “Asian quotas” are getting in their way.

In her article “From NYC to Harvard: the war on Asian success,” New York Post conservative Betsy McCaughey reports American teens rank 28th in math and science knowledge, compared with teens in other countries, with Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan at the top. And for the first time in 25 years, U.S. scores on the main test for elementary and middle school education fell, while SAT scores for college-bound students dropped significantly.

By contrast, Asian-American students, many from poor or immigrant families, outscore all other students by large margins, and their lead keeps widening. In New York City, Asian-Americans make up 13% of students, but win more than half of admissions to New York’s selective public high schools, including Bronx Science and Stuyvesant (picture).

It seems that cultural traditions demanding parental oversight of children’s studies best explain why Asian-American students far outperform others. It’s why today, many charter schools require parents to sign a pledge that they’ll supervise their children to completion of their homework.

But McCaughey had found
That formula is under fire at the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey. The [just-outside-Princeton] district, which is 65% Asian, routinely produces seniors with perfect SAT scores, admissions to MIT and top prizes in international science competitions.
So, McCaughey adds,
non-Asian parents are up in arms, complaining there’s too much pressure and their kids can’t compete. In response, this fall Superintendent David Aderhold apologized that school had become a “perpetual achievement machine.” [He] canceled accelerated and enriched math courses for fourth and fifth grades, which were 90% Asian, and eliminated midterms and finals in high school.
Using a word that already strikes terror in the hearts of Asian parents, he said schools had to take a “holistic” approach. That’s the same euphemism Harvard uses to limit the number of Asians accepted and favor non-Asians. Aderhold even lowered standards for playing in school music programs. Students have a “right to squeak,” he insisted.
McCaughey compares Plainsboro and Harvard to New York City, whose mayor, Bill de Blasio, wants to reduce the role competitive exams play in admitting students to the city’s top high schools in favor of “holistic” selections, thereby robbing poor, immigrant, first-generation Asians of their shot at world-class educations. Asian-American eighth-graders routinely practice for two years for the test, with parents in entry-level jobs paying for prep classes.  

Comment: In an ideal progressive world, a majority of voters would understand the need for a “brave new world” system where the best would ensure the masses’ happiness. Too bad democracy doesn’t work that way. The result is the hash our liberal elite has made of education at all levels.

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