The Power is Now

How can we curb the high rate of school dropouts in the AAPI community?

School Drop

The school dropout among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has been increasing over the years. From 2019 to 2021 the statewide dropout rate was 9 percent; the rate was 4 percent for Asian American and Filipino students. The dropout rate for Pacific Islander students was 9.5 percent, which was the fourth-highest of the eight ethnic/racial designations captured in United States data.

The high rate of school dropout has been brought up by a variety of reasons. Employment discrimination is one of the factors that has affected the AAPI community and also increased the school dropout. According to a Gallup poll, 30-31% of AAPIs surveyed reported incidents of employment discrimination, the largest of any group with African Americans constituting the second-largest at 26%. The AAPIs only filled about 2-3% of the total employment discrimination complaints received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This employment discrimination has made many students from the AAPI community drop out due to a lack of employment.

Poverty is another factor that has caused a high rate of school dropout in the AAPI community. Based on the Gallup poll many Asian American live below the poverty. Poverty has made many AAPI communities not to afford basic needs like food, Shelter, and Education. Also, students drop out of high school and college since some learners may feel they are too far behind academically to catch up, while others may have problems at home. Many support systems exist to help students stay in school and earn diplomas or degrees.

According to expert Jason Patel, low-income students in particular struggle with staying in school. “These students start two steps behind everyone else, with fewer resources, fewer comforts, and fewer opportunities to focus solely on academics and having fun,” says Patel. “We need to control costs of education or give these students an alternative way to compete for jobs in the economy of the future.”

After recognizing the issues facing students at risk of dropping out, the inevitable question becomes, what can be done to keep them in school? The U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences has resulted in the recommendation of six promising practices to ensure that all students are actively engaged in school and on a path to post-secondary success. The department conducted a study with an aim to explore the experience and perspective of Asian American high school dropout and the extent to which his story aligns with dominant thinking, including the six recommended dropout prevention practices and the model minority myth (MMM) of Achievement Orientation, a common belief that Asian Americans exhibit greater success than any other minority ethnic group. The adolescent dropout was interviewed on eight occasions. The results reveal that the MMM may have contributed to the lack of intervention provided to this student and that the most worthwhile recommendation from his perspective include: assigning adult advocates to at-risk students, the use of a systematic data tracking system to target and individualize interventions, and the ability of the school to provide academic support and a personalized learning environment.

The school can also help to curb the high rate of school dropout among the AAPI community by adopting early-intervention strategies i.e. identifying issues related to poor attendance, boredom, family obligations, or challenging issues early in a child’s educational career, schools have a better chance of changing behaviors and attitudes, creating structure and implementing individualized learning options to help students stay focused on the goal of graduating.

Finally, parents from AAPIs Community can help in curbing school dropouts by communicating to their children about career realities. They should talk to their children about their own career paths and the paths of others and help them to see the differences between gaining a high school diploma/ college degree and how many more doors open for them at each level.




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