Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap
Publication Year: 2013
Today the achievement gap is hotly debated among pundits, politicians, and educators. In particular this conversation often focuses on the two fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States: Asian Americans and Latinos. In Academic Profiling, Gilda L. Ochoa addresses this so-called gap by going directly to the source. At one California public high school where the controversy is lived every day, Ochoa turns to the students, teachers, and parents to learn about the very real disparities—in opportunity, status, treatment, and assumptions—that lead to more than just gaps in achievement.
In candid and at times heart-wrenching detail, the students tell stories of encouragement and neglect on their paths to graduation. Separated by unequal middle schools and curriculum tracking, they are divided by race, class, and gender. While those channeled into an International Baccalaureate Program boast about Socratic classes and stress-release sessions, students left out of such programs commonly describe uninspired teaching and inaccessible counseling. Students unequally labeled encounter differential policing and assumptions based on their abilities—disparities compounded by the growth in the private tutoring industry that favors the already economically privileged.
Despite the entrenched inequality in today’s schools, Academic Profiling finds hope in the many ways students and teachers are affirming identities, creating alternative spaces, and fostering critical consciousness. When Ochoa shares the results of her research with the high school, we see the new possibilities—and limits—of change.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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On a June afternoon while meeting with twenty seniors in a transitional English class, I asked them about their four years at Southern California High School (SCHS).1 At fi rst, they joked about the school?s yearbook; complained about student ?drama?; and moaned about homework, mean counselors, and teachers. However, their carefree tone changed quickly ...
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This work was greatly enhanced by the contributions of the following people who supported me in the process of research, refl ection, and writ-ing. First of all, my family has been foundational in shaping all that I do, and they provided the encouragement and support I needed to complete Academic Profi ling. My mother, Francesca Palazzolo Ochoa; brother, ...
Introduction: Academic Profiling at a Southern California High School
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...hector de la torre: The punker guys, they are pretty much Mexican and White, and over there, you have Mexicans; they are skaters. Then the hip- hop kids are Black, light- skinned Black, and Filipinos, george paz: And there?s the jocks? the football guys, the baseball In most large school campuses in the United States, it is hard not to notice ...
PART I. PREVAILING IDEOLOGIES AND SCHOOL STRUCTURES
1 Framing the “Gap”: Dominant Discourses of Achievement
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Joe Berk remembered, ?When I was applying for [this position], I said that there were two campuses at this same school? a high- performingcampus, which is predominately Asian, and a low- performing one that is predominately Hispanic . . . This is not a [Southern California High School] phenomenon. Hispanics, in general, emphasize putting food on the ...
2 Welcome to High School: Tracking from Middle School to International Baccalaureate Programs
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It should not be so separated because it makes people feel different.By the time students begin Southern California High School (SCHS), many are aware of the racialized and classed reputations that mark the middle schools feeding into the high school and the students who will soon be their schoolmates. The images of the two neighborhood middle ...
PART II. SCHOOL PRACTICES AND FAMILY RESOURCES
3 “I’m Watching Your Group”: Regulating Students Unequally
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Everything is caged in, lots of bars. It?s like they don?t trust us, like we?re just going to run away and not come to school if there weren?t any bars. I I call it concentration camp, our school, ?cause we?re not allowed off campus, or on campus when we?re outside, we?re constantly being Senior Angelica Vega believes that SCHS feels ?like a prison.? Rod iron ...
4 “Parents Spend Half a Million on Tutoring”: Standardized Tests and Tutoring Gaps
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So wealthy family, you produce smarter kids, and low- income families produce what? Average students because their lack of resources. That?s Taiwanese immigrant Mei Chee is angered by what she observes as the reproduction of inequality within education. The inequalities detailed in the previous chapters are aggravated by the rapid growth of a tutoring ...
PART III. EVERYDAY RELATIONSHIPS AND FORMS OF RESISTANCE
5 “They Just Judge Us by Our Cover”: Students’ Everyday Experiences with Race
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The opening of the school’s final rally of the year encapsulates the racialized climate permeating SCHS and shaping everyday experiences. Organized by a student group and attended by students and staffulty, this rally used music, dance, and the quoted storyline to announce awards such as Most Improved Students, Salutatorian, Valedictorian, and Club of the Year. Like...
6 “Breaking the Mind- Set”: Forms of Resistance and Change
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The stereotypes are so rigid here about what Hispanic students can accomplish versus what Asian students can accomplish, and you know the Asian students, even though they?re the ones who perhaps have the more positive stereotypes, they feel just as confi ned by them as the Hispanic The dominant discourses, institutional structures, and everyday practices ...
7 Processes of Change: Cycles of Reflection, Dialogue, and Implementation
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We always have such great ideas. They get put on paper and nothing We cannot have the status quo. There has to be change. It will involve After spending over a year at Southern California High School, I eagerly presented what I had learned to school administrators, counselors, teach-ers, and other staff in the fall of 2008. I appreciated the chance to share ...
Conclusion: Possibilities and Pitfalls in Any School, U.S.A.
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As a new school year was beginning and I was preparing for my classes, I was surprised by an e- mail from one of the SCHS administrators. Months had passed since we had last spoken, so I eagerly clicked on the message. Along with thanking me for ?the impact? I made at the school, the e- mailinvited me to campus to learn about the newly implemented AFFIRMS ...
Appendix: Student Participants, Staffulty, and Parents
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About the Author
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Gilda L. Ochoa is professor of Chicana/o? Latina/o studies and sociology at Pomona College. She is the author of Becoming Neighbors in a Mexican American Community and Learning from Latino Teachers and coeditor of ...
Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2013