WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 22, 2012) — The U.S. Department of Education, in collaboration with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is seeking public input on promising practices for disaggregating data on subgroups within the Asian American and Pacific Islander student population.
The Department will be accepting responses until July 3.
Earlier this month, the President speaking before over a thousand AAPI community members at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ 18th Annual Awards Dinner stressed the importance of data disaggregation stating, “If we’re going to do a better job of addressing [real problems], then we first have to stop grouping everybody in one big category.”
According to the most recent Census data, some AAPIs have staggering educational needs that may be overlooked or masked by aggregated data. For example, 29 percent of Vietnamese-Americans, 38 percent of Hmong-Americans, 33 percent of Laotian-Americans, and 37 percent of Cambodian-Americans do not complete high school. Only 13 percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders 25 years of age and older have at least a bachelor’s degree.
“This is an important first step for the U.S. Department of Education, but it could lead to a giant leap for millions of students and their families across the country,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We need to hear from people at every level so that we can identify achievement gaps that need more attention, and take the steps needed to address these disparities. This is another tool to ensure we will graduate the highest proportion of college students in the world.”
“It’s tempting to think of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as ‘model’ minorities when public policies are set, but many of these communities face real problems,” said Kiran Ahuja, director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “These differences are too important to ignore. The Obama Administration is raising the bar to do a better job of understanding educational, economic and health disparities within these communities.”
The Education Department’s request seeks information on practices, policies, and challenges of collecting and utilizing disaggregated data on AAPI subgroups. The Department plans to use its findings to disseminate promising practices in disaggregated data collection to institutions of higher education and state and local education agencies.