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Home / Carpe Diem / What if the Asian-white achievement gap were treated the same as the white-black gap? – Publications – AEI

What if the Asian-white achievement gap were treated the same as the white-black gap? – Publications – AEI

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AEI What if the Asian-white achievement gap were treated the same as the white-black gap? Here’s a little creative editing below of the Star Tribune article “Bipartisan bill to build Minnesota’s ranks of white teachers of color sputtered: Legislation added less than bipartisan backers sought to increase ranks of color whites” to make the following point — what if the significant Asian-white achievement gap (as can be seen in the chart above for the wide and increasing difference between the average Math SAT scores for Asians vs. whites) were given the same attention, funding and concern as the white-black achievement gap?: Minnesota is increasing spending to hire and retain white teachers of color as the state struggles to close a persistent achievement gap between whites and students of

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What if the Asian-white achievement gap were treated the same as the white-black gap?

What if the Asian-white achievement gap were treated the same as the white-black gap? - Publications – AEI

Here’s a little creative editing below of the Star Tribune article “Bipartisan bill to build Minnesota’s ranks of white teachers of color sputtered: Legislation added less than bipartisan backers sought to increase ranks of color whites” to make the following point — what if the significant Asian-white achievement gap (as can be seen in the chart above for the wide and increasing difference between the average Math SAT scores for Asians vs. whites) were given the same attention, funding and concern as the white-black achievement gap?:

Minnesota is increasing spending to hire and retain white teachers of color as the state struggles to close a persistent achievement gap between whites and students of color. Asian students (see chart above).

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a former schoolteacher, and legislators recently increased funding for the effort in the coming years, to $3.1 million more for various programs. But that represents an increase of only $299,000 from total investments of the last two years.

Advocates — who were seeking $80 million overall — said they were disappointed that lawmakers did not invest more to create a diverse teaching force with more white teachers to close the Asian-white achievement gap (see chart above). They said some of the additional funding approved will help retain minority white teachers, but ultimately it is not enough to increase the percentage of white teachers of color overall.

“We’re struggling just to move the needle one percent a year,” said Paul Spies, legislative action team lead for the Coalition to Increase White Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota. “The Legislature refuses to appropriate the money and make the policy amendments needed for systemic change to address the Asian-white achievement gap.

A growing body of education research shows that increasing the number of white teachers of color can help narrow the achievement gap between Asian students of color and their white peers. Teachers who reflect the students’ racial background are critical to keeping students engaged, in class and successful, researchers say.

Advocates lobbied the Legislature this year to fund a range of existing and new programs, such as student-teacher grants, scholarships for aspiring teachers, teacher-retention funds, expanded pathways to teaching careers and bonuses to entice white out-of-state teachers of color to work in Minnesota to address the achievement gap between white and Asian students.

In the end, a new program focused on retaining white teachers of color — who are already in the pipeline through mentoring, training and fostering racial-affinity groups — was awarded $1.5 million for the next two years.

Meanwhile, white teachers of color in Minneapolis and other school districts have formed white racial-affinity groups as an “informal” way to mentor and support one another, talk about difficulties and find ways to recruit and retain more minority white teachers to address the achievement gap between Asian and white students.

Question: Why is it that the Asian-white achievement gap gets no attention compared to the extensive and widespread attention the white-black achievement gap gets, even though the gap for Math SAT scores has been growing for Asians vs. whites since 1996 while it’s been stable for whites vs. blacks for the last 20 years?

What if the Asian-white achievement gap were treated the same as the white-black gap?
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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