Invisible Americans: Exploring Asian Parents’ Perception about School Discrimination in the U.S.

Hyeryon Kim, Yang Soo Kim

Abstract


As American schools have become increasingly diverse, school-based discrimination toward immigrant students has gained wide scholarly attention.  While Asian Americans are the second fastest-growing racial group in the nation and need closer attention, the study of Asian Americans has been limited, perhaps because of a “model minority” misconception.

The present study explores school-based discrimination toward Asian American students in the U.S., as perceived by their parents.   The data was collected using three means: (1) preliminary content analysis of Korean American parents’ community weblogs, (2) self-reported structured questionnaire surveys, and (3) in-depth personal interviews.  The survey participants were 67 Korean American parents in the U.S.   Eight of those 67 participants were interviewed.

The results show that Korean American parents perceive discrimination by school staff, unfair punishment, and improper handling of complaints.   Examining Asian parents’ perceptions of their children’s educational experiences provides a unique view of the challenges faced by Asian American youth and insight into possible interventions schools could put in place to reduce discrimination and to enhance immigrant students’ well-being and academic achievement. 


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