Why Do Asian Students Perform Better in School than Latinos? (Hint: It's Not Simply a Matter of Socioeconomic Background)

It's easy, and politically correct, to attribute the "racial achievement gap" separating Asians and whites students from Latinos and blacks ones to socioeconomic status and class size.

But Asian and Latino students in the same socioeconomic boat (say, those who recently immigrated from Vietnam and Mexico) get very different grades in school - so what's the reason?

In this interesting article in the Los Angeles Times by Hector Becerra, students from the Lincoln High School discussed the issue still considered taboo by many:

Both the neighborhood and student body are about 15% Asian. And yet Asians make up 50% of students taking Advanced Placement classes. Staffers can't remember the last time a Latino was valedictorian.

"A lot of my friends say the achievement gap is directly attributable to the socioeconomic status of students, and that is not completely accurate," O'Connell said. "It is more than that."

But what is it? O'Connell called a summit in Sacramento that drew 4,000 educators, policymakers and experts to tackle the issue. Some teachers stomped out in frustration and anger.

No Lincoln students stomped out of their discussion. Neither did any teachers in a similar Lincoln meeting. But the observations were frank, and they clearly made some uncomfortable.

To begin with, the eight students agreed on a few generalities: Latino and Asian students came mostly from poor and working-class families.

According to a study of census data, 84% of the Asian and Latino families in the neighborhoods around Lincoln High have median annual household incomes below $50,000. And yet the Science Bowl team is 90% Asian, as is the Academic Decathlon team.


(Photo: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

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Yeah, it's truly sad how American society wants people to believe they have to be certain way because of their race. C'mon!! Humans are all the same. There are no significant differences other than our skin color and physical features. I haven't met any asian who is NATURALLY smart. In contrast, I, being hispanic, can claim myself as one. I can do well in any exam I have (all subjects), and keep a 4 GPA WITHOUT studying ALL DAY LONG. Actually, I just pay attention in class and read what they'll be asking for JUST ONCE. Additionally, I use to observe and analyze people so that I will understand them better. And all Asians I've seen are just regular people who won't even understand lessons when they're given, but when a test is coming, they'll be about 24 hours studying to do well (later, some won't even remember small concepts they "learned"). But do people NATURALLY smart need to do so? NO. As simple as that. We truly "SMART" people simply learn and analize quickly and EFFORTLESSLY. We rapidly soak up knowledge and discern. And I can tell you there very few of us AND WITHIN ANY race who have these qualities.
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I don't believe Asian perform better than Latinos. Asians are not far different than indigenous. It's the American society that place them in that category. There are more educated Latinos and future educated Latinos. I have my master degrees and in my classes I never have any Asian that perform more intelligent. I got good grades because I wanted to be educated. I have a daughter. She always had good 4.0 GPA. My three children are going to be college children because I teach them the values of education period. Intelligent has nothing to do with Asians or any other ethnic group. Years before my Puerto Rican old friend tried to enroll in college, she was told by admission that she couldn't attend college because she wasn't white. Now time change, this new immigration of Asians want to teach us what?
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Hahahahaha. I wonder how brainless is the people who stupidly and with no-foundation claim that there is any genetic matter involved in this issue. Of course they're not just ignorant but completely idiot. If these irrational people had some general knowledge, they knew what's going on. No INTELLIGENT person (and I mean, truly INTELLIGENT -of those very few who don't just absorb information you will find within any race) needs a inaccurate study to realize how things are. And let me tell you I have been involved with and observed thorougly people from every ethnicity; and absolutelly and indoubtedly, I'll say there are NO intellectual difference among them.

First of all, Latin America and Asian countries face different realities. While Asian countries are mostly homogeneous, Latin American countries are not; and, this represents a significant difference between both (That's for you stupid koolau). In almost all Latin American countries there will not just be socioeconomic but ethnic discrimination. And most of the large indigenous/indian-featured mestizo or black people are more likely to stumble with ethnic-based barriers to succeed in their own countries. They will be relegated to live in rural or marginal metropolitan areas without have even finished elementary school. In these countries there are too much more people than job positions. That's why if many capable people won't find any job, unfavored people are more unlikely to do so. They will be rather worried to SUBSIST than to get an education. They won't even have water, and the goverments, usually made up for discriminating light skinned ones, won't care about it. Then, while the middle-class people will be pursuing a post secondary education, these people -who hold the habit of subsistence- won't have any other choice but emigrate TO THE CLOSEST PLACES looking for a better future.

So usually you will see no matter how poor their countries are that those people who come from further places will demostrate better performance. The ones who are willing to change their lives in a significant way and can afford a journey from far away come with specific goals unlike the ones who move to the nearest place they find in order to subsist. That's what happen with some Asian and some Latin American immigrants in the USA. They are the ones of their countries' WHOLE population who decided to come to the USA, and they DON'T represent their entire race neither their countries. They came to the USA pursuing specific purposes. An example of this is that within Latin Americans the ones who came with VISA and some previous education (usually South Americans--you see, the further Latin America) will perform better than their counterparts those Mexicans who came from small towns crossing the border. Kids will be directly affected by this kind of situations.

It's more complex than what many of you think. It's not about immigrants' socioeconomic status IN THE USA, it's about how they lived before coming here, WHO they were and how they were treated in their own societies. Most of them will hold these values wherever they go. But Americans love to divide and categorize people without understanding the reasons why some things are the way they are. They will go against our human nature, and dehumanizing us, they will put us into categories; but by doing so, they're forgetting that no individual is identical to other. Anyway, the crowds will always be there to believe whatever others make them believe is true. It's sad to see how very few people can be really intelligent.
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i was born in Ny under a non racist family...after all my years of school...i just notice that mexicans and blacks just do worse....mexicans talk like idiots and blacks i cant understand...they just go on rants and curse me out...not that i care...mexicans will always be stupid and eventually one day will rape our government and we'll be FUCKED
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