Russell Jeung – “I find it surprising that Asian Americans

“I find it surprising that Asian Americans are so reluctant to send their children to school,” says Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University and co-founder of the group Stop AAPI Hate. Tran and other experts fear that the educational consequences of this long period of distance learning could be dire, especially for Asian students learning English. Asian-American students are much more likely to take distance education than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. According to Tran, Asian families, including “their” siblings, share information via WhatsApp and social media, concluding that New York City schools are now simply physically unsafe. By February 2021, according to the most recent school survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, nearly seven out of ten Asian American elementary and middle school students were studying exclusively online. When New York City recently gave students the choice of classroom instruction, some families who had already returned to classroom instruction told friends and neighbors that it wasn’t worth it because of frequent quarantines. They are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to live in intergenerational families, so they are more concerned that grandparents may be exposed to COVID-19, while there are more adults who can help balance the needs of work and distance learning. Part of this discrepancy may be due to the fact that most Asian students live in California, where most public schools remained closed in February. Poon, Jeong and other experts believe there are other reasons why more Asian Americans are staying home besides the rise of anti-Asian racism. According to Jeong and other experts, anti-Asian racism and even violence, such as the Atlanta shooting last month, may prevent some students from returning home. “And the kind of mismanagement of distance learning to online education that we’ve seen in the past year has been extremely disruptive,” Tran says. He points to another reason Asian families are hesitant to attend school in person: they are more likely to choose magnet schools, which force them to travel long distances. His research has shown that Asian Americans have traditionally been more loyal to public schools than to other racial and ethnic groups. Poona’s six-year-old daughter attends Chicago Public School and is a part-time student this year. She says it will take time and effort to rebuild trust and make public schools safe for her family, both physically and emotionally. But the gap remains in the Northeast, Midwest and South, indicating that Asian students prefer to stay away even when there are opportunities to travel in person.