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Why So Many Asian American Students Are Learning Remotely

Asian American students are far more likely to be learning remotely than members of any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. As of February 2021, almost 7 in 10 Asian American K-12 students were still learning online only, according to the U.S. Education Department’s latest school survey. That’s 12 points higher than Hispanic students, 15 points higher than Black students, and 45 points higher than white students.

Some of that gap may be because a large number of the nation’s Asian students live in California, where most public schools remained closed in February. But the gap holds across the Northeast, the Midwest and the South, suggesting that Asian students are choosing to stay remote even where there are in-person options.

“I think it is striking that Asian-Americans are so hesitant to send their kids back to school,” says Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and co-founder of the group Stop AAPI Hate. They published a report last fall in which youths detailed hundreds of incidents of harassment and physical assault.

Jeung and other experts say anti-Asian racism and even violence, as exemplified by the Atlanta-area mass shooting last month, may be keeping some students at home.

“Concern about the pandemic, plus the concern over the racism that their kids may experience on the way to school or within the classroom,” Jeung says, “are both major issues to sending your kid back to school.”

Poon, Jeung and other experts say that, beyond the rise in anti-Asian racism, there are other reasons that Asian-Americans may be staying home from school in larger numbers than others. They are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to live in intergenerational households, making them potentially more worried about putting grandparents at risk from COVID-19, while also providing more adults who can help balance the demands of work and remote learning.

Sociologist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Van Tran, and other experts worry the educational consequences of this extended time in remote learning could be grim, especially for Asian students who are English language learners.

Excerpted from “Why So Many Asian American Students Are Learning Remotely” in QKED’s MindShift. Read or listen to the full story online.

Source: MindShift | Why So Many Asian American Students Are Learning Remotely, https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/57685/why-so-many-asian-american-students-are-learning-remotely | © 2021 KQED INC

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