Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Latinos looking up to the Chinese

I can say so much about this article, for example, I wish my parents would have pushed me "just a-little-bit" more, but they both had to work long-hard hours to keep us out the Food Stamp stereotype. I know my parents wanted the best for me and that is why in my case migrated to Texas, but for newcomers it is always difficult than an established generation of Rodriguezes'. It is my generation who will think like the Chinese and push our kids to excell in all subjects, It is I that will make my kids learn Chinese early-on, as it will be becoming very popular.

Another though would be Why isn't there a system like this for Latinos? If almost the same stereotypes affect us why do Latinos get left behind? Is it because we allow it or because we don't like to see other Latinos succeed?

It is true that one person can make a difference in your life, so imagine a whole "village." I also notice that in the library I am sitting-in, which is in the heart of Magnolia, consists of families and not just kids by themselves, even parents are reading. So that must say something good about this community.
A new school of thought
Chinese schools attract more than just Asian kids fighting stereotype
By Holly Yan and Stella M Chavez
The Dallas Morning News,
September 21, 2008

If such a thing as positive racial profiling existed, Asian students would be the target. The stereotype is rampant: Asian-American kids portrayed as relentless bookworms who work harder and make better grades than their peers in other ethnic groups.

But the stereotype blurs the reality of what life is like for children whose parents expect them to attend 'Chinese school' on Saturday or Sunday after a five-day week in public school. Go to Web pages such as 'Asian Parents Are Too Crazy About Grades' and you'll hear the continuing debate over academic performance and what some students see as excruciating pressure to excel.

Chinese schools, little known outside of Asian communities, have become incubators of academic excellence. And they are attracting the attention of white, Hispanic and black parents who want the best for their children. Ray Wei, principal of one Dallas-area Chinese school, sets the bar high for his students. 'They should be better than their teacher,' he says.

Numbers often tell the story of Asian students' performance. In 2007, 32 percent of Asian students earned 'commended' status on all subjects of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Only 13 percent of all Texas students taking TAKS tests got the commended label in all subjects. Same story on the SAT, the college entrance exam. And a disproportionately high number of valedictorians last year in the Dallas-Fort Worth area had Asian surnames.

Mr. Wei, who runs the Dallas Chinese School in Richardson, attributes his students' success to hard work and discipline. But the key, he says, is their commitment to weekend classes at Chinese school. The school is just off Central Expressway near a church and Richardson City Hall. On the first day of class, the 10-classroom building buzzes with excited parents, students and staff. Children ranging in grade levels from pre-kindergarten to high school take classes such as phonics, modern Chinese language, PSAT/SAT preparation and calculus.

Several reading and writing classes are available for different grade levels. Students can take one class or a few. As he walks the hallways, Mr. Wei proudly shows off the achievements of his alumni. Lining the walls are pictures, diplomas and newspaper articles celebrating former students who've gone on to bigger and better things. Mr. Wei knows each and every story. This person scored perfectly on his SAT.

That person got into MIT. 'This poor guy applied to Yale and Harvard but ended up going to Stanford as a backup,' he jokes. About 80 percent of his students end up as pre-med or pre-law students in college, Mr. Wei says. The rest focus on engineering.

Dallas Chinese School has been operating for more than two decades. It's one of at least eight such schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. History, heritage The earliest known Chinese schools opened on the West Coast in the late 19th century, when Chinese students were banned from public schools because of their ethnicity. Back then, the schools mostly tried to preserve Chinese language and cultural heritage.

To view the complete article click here.

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