In the world of educational research and writing, Asian-American students occupy little more than the margins. Histories of American education simply omit them. Discussions of current educational problems slight their importance when they deign to take note of them at all. The U.S. Education Department is by no means in the forefront of attention to Asian-American students. When, early in 1992, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released an outstanding study-- Civil Rights Issues Facing Asian Americans in the 1990s--that contained two solid chapters on higher and lower education, university-based journals of education ignored it. Even though the report contained evidence of widespread violations of educational equal opportunity, no federal agency, including the Education Department, made public acknowledgement of these. In early autumn days, the press can be expected to carry stories about rising enrollments of Asian-Americans at elite colleges and universities, giving the misimpression that Asian- Americans can be found only or principally at such institutions.
Asian-American students, as a consequence, rarely appear in more familiar roles as students of community colleges, obscure or less than front-rank colleges or universities, or even as high-school dropouts who never made it into higher education. Nor can average Asian-American students recognize themselves as the stereotypical model minority world-beaters they encounter in mass media. Vietnamese children in three Michigan schools told a researcher, "I wish my teachers understood more about my homeland and culture and the experience I've been through." 1
This book aims to provide a more dependable view of Asian-American