This week, hundreds of state legislators from all over the country are in Minneapolis for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2014 legislative summit, and on Monday, we had an opportunity to meet a few dozen of them! Thanks to an invitation from the National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators, we—along with Dr. Christianna Hang, founder of the Hmong College Prep Academy, and St. Paul School Board Member Chue Vue—presented on the state of Asian Pacific American students in Minnesota.
So, what did we share with legislators?
The truth is that, on many fronts, Minnesota continues to lag behind other states when it comes to educating kids of color, including Asian Pacific American students. According to 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress data—which allows us to compare student achievement across states—Asian American students in Minnesota:
- Are seeing their achievement gap widen in eight-grade reading.
- Rank 29th out of 36 states fourth-grade math.
- Rank 32nd of 37 states fourth-grade reading.
- Rank 28th of 33 states in eighth-grade math.
- Rank 28th of 31 states in eighth-grade reading.
In addition to reporting on these disappointing stats, we shared a success story from one changing-the-odds public school. Community of Peace Academy in St. Paul is bucking these trends and helping their Asian Pacific American kids perform as well or better than their white peers. And many of the school’s strategies can inform state policy—in Minnesota and elsewhere.
Below, we share just a few recommendations from our presentation, which you can explore in full here.
- Maintain high state standards and classroom expectations for all kids, regardless of race or ethnicity.
- Work to increase teacher diversity.
- Provide educators with ongoing support on cultural competency.
We thank NCSL for hosting us and hope the summit’s attendees leave Minneapolis energized with new ideas to develop, pass and implement policies that will ensure our public schools help all kids succeed.