University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Ethnic Minorities, Schooling, & Scientific Theory, Spring 2010

AAS 3920, Section 003 (Call # 94878), 3 credits
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10:10 – 11:00 A.M.
Folwell Hall 419
Instructor: Leena Neng Her

Statistical reports indicate that children who are of ethnic/racial minorities often perform less well in schools. For as long as researchers have been counting a performance gap has remained consistent and sustained along racial, ethnic, and socio-economic categories of identification. For example, in 2005, 11.8% of African American and 23.8% of Latino students dropped out of U.S. schools as compared to only 6.8% of their White counterparts (Snyder, Tan, and Hoffman, 2006). What accounts for the high levels of school dropout among ethnic and minority students? Why do ethnic and minority students consistently perform less well than their white counterparts? Why do factors like race and class continue to be strong predictors of achievement?

This course examines theories of minority academic achievement. Our goals are: 1) to gain an overview of how minority academic performance has been theorized by researchers; 2) to resituate theories of academic failure as “social” products of their political and cultural contexts; and 3) to identify implications or contributions the theories have for ethnic minority populations and their schooling today. While we draw from research conducted in the Latino, African American, and Asian American community, to focus our analysis, we will draw upon research conducted in the Hmong American community. Selected course materials include:

Trueba, Henry (1990) Cultural Conflict and Adaptation: The Case of Hmong Children in American Society.

Lee, Stacey (2005) Up Against Whiteness: Race, School, and Immigrant Youth

Walker-Moffat, Wendy (1995) The Other Side of the Asian American Success Story

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