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WSJ: The New White Flight


DjTj

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This article was in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, but it was mentioned in a Washington Post editorial today (I Am an Asian Parent), and I thought it was an interesting read (the Post editorial also). It puts an interesting twist on questions of racism and school integration.

The New White Flight

http://www.wsjclassroomedition.com/teen/teencenter/05nov_whiteflight.htm

In Silicon Valley, two high schools with outstanding academic reputations are losing white students as Asian students move in. Why?

By SUEIN HWANG

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- By most measures, Monta Vista High here and Lynbrook High, in nearby San Jose, are among the nation's top public high schools. Both boast stellar test scores, an array of advanced-placement classes and a track record of sending graduates from the affluent suburbs of Silicon Valley to prestigious colleges.

But locally, they're also known for something else: white flight. Over the past 10 years, the proportion of white students at Lynbrook has fallen by nearly half, to 25% of the student body. At Monta Vista, white students make up less than one-third of the population, down from 45% -- this in a town that's half white. Some white Cupertino parents are instead sending their children to private schools or moving them to other, whiter public schools. More commonly, young white families in Silicon Valley say they are avoiding Cupertino altogether.

White students are far outnumbered by Asians at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif.

Whites aren't quitting the schools because the schools are failing academically. Quite the contrary: Many white parents say they're leaving because the schools are too academically driven and too narrowly invested in subjects such as math and science at the expense of liberal arts and extracurriculars like sports and other personal interests.

The two schools, put another way that parents rarely articulate so bluntly, are too Asian.

Cathy Gatley, co-president of Monta Vista High School's parent-teacher association, recently dissuaded a family with a young child from moving to Cupertino because there are so few young white kids left in the public schools. "This may not sound good," she confides, "but their child may be the only Caucasian kid in the class." All of Ms. Gatley's four children have attended or are currently attending Monta Vista. One son, Andrew, 17 years old, took the high-school exit exam last summer and left the school to avoid the academic pressure. He is currently working in a pet-supply store. Ms. Gatley, who is white, says she probably wouldn't have moved to Cupertino if she had anticipated how much it would change.

In the 1960s, the term "white flight" emerged to describe the rapid exodus of whites from big cities into the suburbs, a process that often resulted in the economic degradation of the remaining community. Back then, the phenomenon was mostly believed to be sparked by the growth in the population of African-Americans, and to a lesser degree Hispanics, in some major cities.

But this modern incarnation is different. Across the country, Asian-Americans have by and large been successful and accepted into middle- and upper-class communities. Silicon Valley has kept Cupertino's economy stable, and the town is almost indistinguishable from many of the suburbs around it. The shrinking number of white students hasn't hurt the academic standards of Cupertino's schools -- in fact the opposite is true.

This time the effect is more subtle: Some Asians believe that the resulting lack of diversity creates an atmosphere that is too sheltering for their children, leaving then unprepared for life in a country that is only 4% Asian overall. Moreover, many Asians share some of their white counterpart's concerns. Both groups finger newer Asian immigrants for the schools' intense competitiveness.

Some whites fear that by avoiding schools with large Asian populations parents are short-changing their own children, giving them the idea that they can't compete with Asian kids. "My parents never let me think that because I'm Caucasian, I'm not going to succeed," says Jessie Hogin, a white Monta Vista graduate.

The white exodus clearly involves race-based presumptions, not all of which are positive. One example: Asian parents are too competitive. That sounds like racism to many of Cupertino's Asian residents, who resent the fact that their growing numbers and success are causing many white families to boycott the town altogether.

"It's a stereotype of Asian parents," says Pei-Pei Yow, a Hewlett-Packard Co. manager and Chinese-American community leader who sent two kids to Monta Vista. It's like other familiar biases, she says: "You can't say everybody from the South is a redneck."

Jane Doherty, a retirement-community administrator, chose to send her two boys elsewhere. When her family moved to Cupertino from Indiana over a decade ago, Ms. Doherty says her top priority was moving into a good public-school district. She paid no heed to a real-estate agent who told her of the town's burgeoning Asian population.

She says she began to reconsider after her elder son, Matthew, entered Kennedy, the middle school that feeds Monta Vista. As he played soccer, Ms. Doherty watched a line of cars across the street deposit Asian kids for after-school study. She also attended a Monta Vista parents' night and came away worrying about the school's focus on test scores and the big-name colleges its graduates attend.

"My sense is that at Monta Vista you're competing against the child beside you," she says. Ms. Doherty says she believes the issue stems more from recent immigrants than Asians as a whole. "Obviously, the concentration of Asian students is really high, and it does flavor the school," she says.

When Matthew, now a student at Notre Dame, finished middle school eight years ago, Ms. Doherty decided to send him to Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Jesuit school that she says has a culture that "values the whole child." It's also 55% white and 24% Asian. Her younger son, Kevin, followed suit.

Kevin Doherty, 17, says he's happy his mother made the switch. Many of his old friends at Kennedy aren't happy at Monta Vista, he says. "Kids at Bellarmine have a lot of pressure to do well, too, but they want to learn and do something they want to do."

While California has seen the most pronounced cases of suburban segregation, some of the developments in Cupertino are also starting to surface in other parts of the U.S. At Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Md., known flippantly to some locals as "Won Ton," roughly 35% of students are of Asian descent. People who don't know the school tend to make assumptions about its academics, says Principal Michael Doran. "Certain stereotypes come to mind -- 'those people are good at math,' " he says.

In Tenafly, N.J., a well-to-do bedroom community near New York, the local high school says it expects Asian students to make up about 36% of its total in the next five years, compared with 27% today. The district still attracts families of all backgrounds, but Asians are particularly intent that their kids work hard and excel, says Anat Eisenberg, a local Coldwell Banker real-estate agent. "Everybody is caught into this process of driving their kids." Lawrence Mayer, Tenafly High's vice principal, says he's never heard such concerns.

Perched on the western end of the Santa Clara valley, Cupertino was for many years a primarily rural area known for its many fruit orchards. The beginnings of the tech industry brought suburbanization, and Cupertino then became a very white, quintessentially middle-class town of mostly modest ranch homes, populated by engineers and their families. Apple Computer Inc. planted its headquarters there.

As the high-tech industry prospered, so did Cupertino. Today, the orchards are a memory, replaced by numerous shopping malls and subdivisions that are home to Silicon Valley's prosperous upper-middle class. While the architecture in Cupertino is largely the same as in neighboring communities, the town of about 50,000 people now boasts Indian restaurants, tutoring centers and Asian grocers. Parents say Cupertino's top schools have become more academically intense over the past 10 years.

Asian immigrants have surged into the town, granting it a reputation -- particularly among recent Chinese and South Asian immigrants -- as a Bay Area locale of choice. Cupertino is now 41% Asian, up from 24% in 1998.

Some students struggle in Cupertino's high schools who might not elsewhere. Monta Vista's Academic Performance Index, which compares the academic performance of California's schools, reached an all-time high of 924 out of 1,000 this year, making it one of the highest-scoring high schools in Northern California. Grades are so high that a 'B' average puts a student in the bottom third of a class.

"We have great students, which has a lot of upsides," says April Scott, Monta Vista's principal. "The downside is what the kids with a 3.0 GPA think of themselves."

Ms. Scott and her counterpart at Lynbrook know what's said about their schools being too competitive and dominated by Asians. "It's easy to buy into those kinds of comments because they're loaded and powerful," says Ms. Scott, who adds that they paint an inaccurate picture of Monta Vista. Ms. Scott says many athletic programs are thriving and points to the school's many extracurricular activities. She also points out that white students represented 20% of the school's 29 National Merit Semifinalists this year.

Judy Hogin, Jessie's mother and a Cupertino real-estate agent, believes the school was good for her daughter, who is now a freshman at the University of California at San Diego. "I know it's frustrating to some people who have moved away," says Ms. Hogin, who is white. Jessie, she says, "rose to the challenge."

On a recent autumn day at Lynbrook, crowds of students spilled out of classrooms for midmorning break. Against a sea of Asian faces, the few white students were easy to pick out. One boy sat on a wall, his lighter hair and skin making him stand out from dozens of others around him. In another corner, four white male students lounged at a picnic table.

At Cupertino's top schools, administrators, parents and students say white students end up in the stereotyped role often applied to other minority groups: the underachievers. In one 9th-grade algebra class, Lynbrook's lowest-level math class, the students are an eclectic mix of whites, Asians and other racial and ethnic groups.

"Take a good look," whispered Steve Rowley, superintendent of the Fremont Union High School District, which covers the city of Cupertino as well as portions of other neighboring cities. "This doesn't look like the other classes we're going to."

On the second floor, in advanced-placement chemistry, only a couple of the 32 students are white and the rest are Asian. Some white parents, and even some students, say they suspect teachers don't take white kids as seriously as Asians.

"Many of my Asian friends were convinced that if you were Asian, you had to confirm you were smart. If you were white, you had to prove it," says Arar Han, a Monta Vista graduate who recently co-edited "Asian American X," a book of coming-of-age essays by young Asian-Americans.

Ms. Gatley, the Monta Vista PTA president, is more blunt: "White kids are thought of as the dumb kids," she says.

Cupertino's administrators and faculty, the majority of whom are white, adamantly say there's no discrimination against whites. The administrators say students of all races get along well. In fact, there's little evidence of any overt racial tension between students or between their parents.

Mr. Rowley, the school superintendent, however, concedes that a perception exists that's sometimes called "the white-boy syndrome." He describes it as: "Kids who are white feel themselves a distinct minority against a majority culture."

Mr. Rowley, who is white, enrolled his only son, Eddie, at Lynbrook. When Eddie started freshman geometry, the boy was frustrated to learn that many of the Asian students in his class had already taken the course in summer school, Mr. Rowley recalls. That gave them a big leg up.

To many of Cupertino's Asians, some of the assumptions made by white parents -- that Asians are excessively competitive and single-minded -- play into stereotypes. Top schools in nearby, whiter Palo Alto, which also have very high test scores, also feature heavy course loads, long hours of homework and overly stressed students, says Denise Pope, director of Stressed Out Students, a Stanford University program that has worked with schools in both Palo Alto and Cupertino. But whites don't seem to be avoiding those institutions, or making the same negative generalizations, Asian families note, suggesting that it's not academic competition that makes white parents uncomfortable but academic competition with Asian-Americans.

Some of Cupertino's Asian residents say they don't blame white families for leaving. After all, many of the town's Asians are fretting about the same issues. While acknowledging that the term Asian embraces a wide diversity of countries, cultures and languages, they say there's some truth to the criticisms levied against new immigrant parents, particularly those from countries such as China and India, who often put a lot of academic pressure on their children.

Some parents and students say these various forces are creating an unhealthy cultural isolation in the schools. Monta Vista graduate Mark Seto says he wouldn't send his kids to his alma mater. "It was a sheltered little world that didn't bear a whole lot of resemblance to what the rest of the country is like," says Mr. Seto, a Chinese-American who recently graduated from Yale University. As a result, he says, "college wasn't an academic adjustment. It was a cultural adjustment."

Hung Wei, a Chinese-American living in Cupertino, has become an active campaigner in the community, encouraging Asian parents to be more aware of their children's emotional development. Ms. Wei, who is co-president of Monta Vista's PTA with Ms. Gatley, says her activism stems from the suicide of her daughter, Diana. Ms. Wei says life in Cupertino and at Monta Vista didn't prepare the young woman for life at New York University. Diana moved there in 2004 and jumped to her death from a Manhattan building two months later.

"We emphasize academics so much and protect our kids, I feel there's something lacking in our education," Ms. Wei says.

Cupertino schools are trying to address some of these issues. Monta Vista recently completed a series of seminars focused on such issues as helping parents communicate better with their kids, and Lynbrook last year revised its homework guidelines with the goal of eliminating excessive and unproductive assignments.

The moves haven't stemmed the flow of whites out of the schools. Four years ago, Lynn Rosener, a software consultant, transferred her elder son from Monta Vista to Homestead High, a Cupertino school with slightly lower test scores. At the new school, the white student body is declining at a slower rate than at Monta Vista and currently stands at 52% of the total. Friday-night football is a tradition, with big half-time shows and usually 1,000 people packing the stands. The school offers boys' volleyball, a sport at which Ms. Rosener's son was particularly talented. Monta Vista doesn't.

"It does help to have a lower Asian population," says Homestead PTA President Mary Anne Norling. "I don't think our parents are as uptight as if my kids went to Monta Vista."

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Off topic:

DjTj when you were at college were all the "asian" students all in the same cliques? Here at JMU the "asian" students (mostly Korean) are all (*very close to it) in the same cliques and for the most part did not fully integerate with the other students.

It is a mixed bag. Anywhere there is a significant Asian-American population, there will be Asian cliques. There are Chinese cliques, Korean cliques, Indian cliques, Pakistani cliques, and Vietnamese cliques. However, there are also Asian-Americans that don't associate exclusively with those cliques.

I think you see the same phenomenon with Black students, Latino students, and any other identifiable ethnic group.

I think this is a result of peoples' experiences in high school. Black kids from boarding schools or neighborhoods that are mostly White usually have no problem associating with White students, but those from public schools with large numbers of other Black students have often become comfortable in racially-defined cliques. Similarly, Asian-Americans from high schools like the ones described in this WSJ article will continue to hang out with other Asian-Americans. It's a matter of habit.

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heavens to mercatroid they actually expect the students to "compete" against each other in acedemics, well my gold stars that is totally unacceptable. We all know competition is wrong, and that the number one goal of schools is to make the students feel good about themselves and learn evolution.

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"It's a stereotype of Asian parents," says Pei-Pei Yow, a Hewlett-Packard Co. manager and Chinese-American community leader who sent two kids to Monta Vista. It's like other familiar biases, she says: "You can't say everybody from the South is a redneck."

Of course this is not the same thing as saying there are no rednecks in the South, right? ;)

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Of course this is not the same thing as saying there are no rednecks in the South, right? ;)

Shoot we even got redneck asians and blacks, must be something in the water :laugh:

Anyway somewhat back on the subject my son could never pass this Vietmanese girl for valdictorian,course she did not letter in 4 sports.

Oh well...have to pin my hopes on my girl ,maybe she can overcome the yellow peril ;)

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My wife went to Monte Vista, and we have discussed the article as it accurately reflects the basic feelings of parents around the valley and the uncomfortable atmosphere which has been created at those schools for white students. Simply put I would not send my kids there, I would much spend the money to send then to a highly regarded private school.

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Off topic:

DjTj when you were at college were all the "asian" students all in the same cliques? Here at JMU the "asian" students (mostly Korean) are all (*very close to it) in the same cliques and for the most part did not fully integerate with the other students.

And did they cheat like mother****ers also?

My buddy was an E-school student at UVA and told me he'd get pissed off seeing the blatant cheating going on with the Asians all sitting in a group

I am lucky my parents never forced me to get all A's, B's were perfectly acceptable in my house, but after that oh boy :laugh:

And Pakistani and Indian cliques drove me nuts in college. I can't say the alphabet anymore because all I can think of is being an "ABCD"

(American born confused desi)

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heavens to mercatroid they actually expect the students to "compete" against each other in acedemics, well my gold stars that is totally unacceptable. We all know competition is wrong, and that the number one goal of schools is to make the students feel good about themselves and learn evolution.

Wait, I do not get it. What does evolution have to do with competition?

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My wife went to Monte Vista, and we have discussed the article as it accurately reflects the basic feelings of parents around the valley and the uncomfortable atmosphere which has been created at those schools for white students.

Can you expound?

This was a pretty interesting reply to the article

http://poplicks.com/2005/11/new-white-flight-really.html

THE NEW WHITE FLIGHT? REALLY?

Considering that two different friends sent me this same article yesterday, I figure it must be news-worthy. The Wall St. Journal is reporting on a new kind of "white flight" from public high schools in the Silicon Valley suburb of Cupertino. Cupertino's burgeoning Asian American student population is nothing new - I've known about it, anecdotally, for years but it sounds like, in the last 10 years, the ratio has rocketed to the point where now, white students (or better said, their parents) are pulling out of Cupertino's public schools and attending private schools and moving out of the district entirely. A few notable pull quotes:

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING...

"Whites aren't quitting the schools because the schools are failing academically. Quite the contrary: Many white parents say they're leaving because the schools are too academically driven and too narrowly invested in subjects such as math and science at the expense of liberal arts and extracurriculars like sports and other personal interests. The two schools, put another way that parents rarely articulate so bluntly, are too Asian."

"At Cupertino's top schools, administrators, parents and students say white students end up in the stereotyped role often applied to other minority groups: the underachievers."

"To many of Cupertino's Asians, some of the assumptions made by white parents -- that Asians are excessively competitive and single-minded -- play into stereotypes. Top schools in nearby, whiter Palo Alto, which also have very high test scores, also feature heavy course loads, long hours of homework and overly stressed students. But whites don't seem to be avoiding those institutions, or making the same negative generalizations, Asian families note, suggesting that it's not academic competition that makes white parents uncomfortable but academic competition with Asian-Americans."

"Some of Cupertino's Asian residents say they don't blame white families for leaving. After all, many of the town's Asians are fretting about the same issues. While acknowledging that the term Asian embraces a wide diversity of countries, cultures and languages, they say there's some truth to the criticisms levied against new immigrant parents, particularly those from countries such as China and India, who often put a lot of academic pressure on their children."

Some thoughts: First of all, I think it's interesting how some of this tension is being cast as nativist vs. immigrant (including within the Asian American community). Looks like immigrant scapegoating is popular in any community, even intra-ethnic ones.

In any case, I was talking about this article with my friend Hua Hsu who grew up in Cupertino and attended Lynbrook; he pointed out that this article relies most only anecdote but very little on hard data, let alone a real demographic/statistical analysis. It's not like the WSJ needed to publish the article as if it appeared in a sociology journal instead but you clearly get the idea that the writer is trying very hard to paint a racial divide hear yet her "evidence" doesn't necessarily support such a claim.

For example, Hua points out that demographically speaking, in order to really prove that there's substantial white flight happening within the school district, you'd have to be adjust for changes in the number of white children in Cupertino to begin with. In other words, if, for example, there's been a large influx of Asian families into the city (which there sounds like there has been), but the white population has stayed stable and has aged past the point where there are high school aged children still left, then you would see a drop in white enrollment and rise in Asian enrollment and there's no actual "flight" going on.

So I took a look at what data is easily available and what it suggests is that, yes, there's a significant decrease in the white population of Cupertino between 1990 and 2000 - about 24% in terms of the per capita white population and 18% in the raw, numerical decrease. That cannot be due to death alone so presumably, of the 4,500 whites who left the city, you'd figure most did it in a moving van and not a hearse. However, that information alone isn't necessarily suggestive of a wide-scale example of racially motivated white flight. For example, it could be there was a substantial number of white families who no longer had children of school age and given rising property values in Cupertino, decided to cash out and move some place less expensive.

On the flipside, you could also theorize that the increasing rate of Asians living in the city was a disincentive for new white families to move into town. That's something the data isn't going to show.

The simple point is this: lesson one in economic or sociological analysis: just because a correlation exists doesn't mean a causality does. (This is something the Freakanomics authors stress over and over). In other words, just because sets of data seem to be related (i.e. increasing Asian enrollment, decreasing white) doesn't mean they actually are.

I'll say this much though: S and I had thought about moving to Cupertino because 1) S works in Cupertino and therefore, her commute would improve considerably, 2) the reputation of the schools (yeah, we have that Asian mentality too) and 3) there's a Mandarin immersion program there that'd we'd love to enroll E into.

However, I too was concerned about the skewed demographics of the school district. I grew up in a city where the Asian student population was at least 30% and now, I hear it's grown to 45-50%...so I can relate to what's happening in Cupertino. And honestly, I like the idea of E going to school in a diverse environment, one that isn't dominated by any one ethnic group, white, Asian or otherwise. To me, the choice between a predominant Asian school and predominantly white school (or commonly found, split Asian/white schools) are all equally discomforting, though for different reasons (Mandarin immersion school excepted).

--Oliver

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Can you expand?

The simple point is this: lesson one in economic or sociological analysis: just because a correlation exists doesn't mean a causality does. (This is something the Freakanomics authors stress over and over). In other words, just because sets of data seem to be related (i.e. increasing Asian enrollment, decreasing white) doesn't mean they actually are.

--Oliver

Bingo, although it really does sound like traditional racist white flight.

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And did they cheat like mother****ers also?

My buddy was an E-school student at UVA and told me he'd get pissed off seeing the blatant cheating going on with the Asians all sitting in a group

I am lucky my parents never forced me to get all A's, B's were perfectly acceptable in my house, but after that oh boy :laugh:

And Pakistani and Indian cliques drove me nuts in college. I can't say the alphabet anymore because all I can think of is being an "ABCD"

(American born confused desi)

Honor code man - it totally works ... In any case, I hope your friend reported that stuff.

There really is a statistical anomaly at UVA that there are more Honor offenses involving Asians than there should be given the fact that only 10% of the student body is Asian. People say that most of it is caused by international students, whom don't really have the same concept of cheating as American-raised kids ... I would say that the more schooling you had in Asia, the less likely you would "get" the honor code.

But I wouldn't be surprised if even Asian-American kids do feel more pressure to do well and thus end up cheating. The stereotypes are definitely true to some extent - at least when applied on a general level, which is why I believe that people actually do have the kinds of thoughts brought up in this article.

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Interesting.... many different comment on this thread caught my eye.

My wife is Korean, and came to America for college, she went to ASU when Plummer was there. Whenever I hear her talk about Korean Prep schools, I shudder... kids waking up early, staying up late nights... and this is just for High School. It seems like one of the reasons this occurs is because there are few highly regarded colleges in Korea... do you think we Americans would be like that if there were no backup colleges? She always talks to me about regretting missing prom and American things like that... but the pressure there is intense. I must caveat this though, as our cousins are mainly American born Koreans... one set of them seems to do very well in school, but another cousin and my brother in law are going to school at UNLV... hardly an academic powerhouse.

When I was in school, I ended up being one of the white guy among Asians, Koreans mostly. We want to look at them and say integrate, but it's not their fault they only know Koreans in their social circles and such. I have made quite a few Asian friends... I would generally say they work harder, and party less than the typical "frat boy"... and seem most likely to want to be a Doctor, Dentist, Engineer or some high white collar job. I don't know if this is due to parents pressure... but think of how you would treat school if your parents are immigrants and you see how hard they work at the local Subway or running a restaurant... a 9-5 job is mighty attractive.

I went to E-school at UVA, but was largely unaware of the large amounts of Asian cheating. Most of the time my courses were impossible, thus cheating seemed impossible as well. When I came to LA, a lot of people from the Cal-Poly schools clued me into the fact that Vietnamese engineers were always cheating...

Just some random thoughts...

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Im an Asian Parent. At least I hope to be.

It makes me angry that our public schools are so poor, and that noone offers real solutions to the actual problems.

Why does our public high school start it's day at 915 and end at 300? Why not 730-430? Dont we all agree that an extra hour or two would be beneficial? It wouldnt have to be class time. It could be tutor specific time (a real version of the old fashioned study hall).

Manatee County Schools has 42000 students. And a budget of 825 MILLION. Thats 20 thousand per kid. I expect and demqand better.

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I do think there are a couple of stereotypes presented in this article that are fair.

Namely, that Asian educational culture calls for almost 100% focus on academics and nothing else. Sports, Social Clubs, and individuality in general are frowned upon in my experience with Asian (Japanese) educational systems.

Whether or not that is a good thing, I'm not sure.

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I don't know about a corelation between Asians and cheating, I think due to environmental reasons they may be prone to attempting to achieve better grades (instead of better work) but if I am allowed to used stereotypes than I would expect Asian students to also be more uptight (in general, and in this case rightly so) and therefore afraid of getting kicked out of school.

One odd thing I notice about Asians as groups on campus is that for the most part they speak their native tongue fluently and even usually use it as the primary language when talking to each other. This is the case with most immigrants, but the thing is most of the Asian students appear as white washed as anyone else and likely weren't even born outside of the US, yet they retain their ancestral language.

[let me add I do find that annoying especially when I am talking to one of my Korean friends but a group of other Koreans come and they speak in Korean and I am left wondering wtf they are saying.]

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I am lucky my parents never forced me to get all A's, B's were perfectly acceptable in my house, but after that oh boy :laugh:

I guess that is an issue for me also. My parents were okay with B's and I ended up at Maryland with an engineering degree, doing well but definitely not a straight A student. Since then I have done very well in a fast moving high tech job field. At Monte Vista unless you are in every AP class you can take and getting A's in everything then you are at the bottom of the class. The article correctly points out that a B average will be in the bottom part of the class. Additionally, things like the quote about kids taking geometry in summer school prior to the class in high school seems to me like specifically to "game" the grades, taking it when it does not count so you can get an A when it does (sure taking a class twice might teach you more but then why wouldn't you then take every class twice). I am not into that kind of pressure to get all A's for my child.

A bit more background that may not be evident. Silicon Valley is a rather strange place, where most folks work in high tech and are thus well educated and usually want the same for their children. Cupertino is very expensive (my guess is the current median home price to be about $750K). New townhomes are over a million. So folks living here, while paying a lot for there house usually have well paying jobs and could afford to choose where to send their kids.

Things not in the article... Language issue mentioned elsewhere in this thread was seen a lot. Folks who did not have English as their first language would talk in their native tongue which is very off putting (and really very rude) to people who do not speak the language of the group. Many immigrant parents are very driven to change the school district focus to be very academic oriented (to an extreme) eliminating or reducing other activities as being superfluous. This in my opinion adds to the discomfort long time resident parents feel as the school changes from what they knew to something foreign (so to speak). Lastly, on a sad note I believe that 3 children from Monte Vista committed suicide while in their first year(s) at college. Maybe that is a normal number but seems high to me. I do not have specifics thus can't comment on reason or relation to school environment.

In any case we do not live in that district but if we did we would not send our kids there. The private schools here are not as good as in DC but we would find a way to offer a school with good academic standing and a balance education and population for our children.

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