Improving South Asian American Students' Experiences

Research suggests many South Asian Americans feel disconnected from school, unsupported by teachers, and have less-than-ideal K-12 experiences. Many also have teachers who believe the “model minority myth.” This website exists to serve as a resource-hub to advocate for student needs and improve experiences.

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The facts ––

South Asian American students in American schools may face a variety of challenges. Research reveals South Asian American adults recall feeling disconnected and misunderstood during their school years, sometimes resulting in academic needs – as well as socioemotional and learning needs – going overlooked. Key findings include:

  1. Lack of Cultural Understanding: A striking 81% of participants in a study supervised by Johns Hopkins University reported that their teachers were more familiar with the cultural backgrounds of their peers than with theirs.

  2. Feeling of Disconnection: About 59% of these individuals felt less connected to their school environment compared to their peers.

  3. Persistence of Stereotypes: Alarmingly, 78% believed that their teachers subscribed to the "model minority myth," a stereotype that can lead to significant misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

    Despite efforts in cultural proficiency training for teachers, interviews with current educators suggest there has been little progress in truly understanding the unique backgrounds and challenges faced by South Asian American students. The persistent presence of the model minority myth further complicates this scenario. The implications of these findings are profound:

    • Overlooked Student Needs: When teachers hold preconceived notions based on appearance, they may inadvertently overlook the specific needs of South Asian American students.

    • Reduced School Connection: A lack of understanding by educators can lead to students feeling alienated, reducing their connection to the school and its community.

    • Impact on Future Choices: These experiences can color a student's entire educational journey, potentially influencing their future career choices, including the decision to pursue or avoid a career in education.

    0%
    FELT OTHERS WERE MORE CONNECTED TO SCHOOL THAN THEM
    0%
    FELT THEIR TEACHERS BELIEVED IN THE MODEL MINORITY STEREOTYPE
    0%
    FELT TEACHERS BETTER UNDERSTOOD PEERS

    ISAASE (Improving South Asian American Students' Experiences) is committed to enhancing the educational journey of South Asian American students.


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    South Asian American role models have diverse, unique stories. Hearing diverse stories – of challenges, adversity, and successes – uplift and inspire. Here are a few.