If the schools aren't doing an adequate job educating today's students, the problem must lie with the schools, right? Not necessarily, says a new study of children of Indochinese boat people. Among this group, researchers found, the schools are actually doing pretty well.
Asian students are often stereotyped as the "model minority" because so many excel in school. Three researchers from the University of Michigan decided to find out why. What they discovered confirmed many long-held beliefs of educators about the value of parental involvement: The critical factor was the value that parents placed on education and the sacrifices both ++ parents and children were willing to make in order to excel.
That's certainly not new. But it did lead to some startling conclusions. If American schools work reasonably well for these students, why are Americans students falling behind their European and Japanese counterparts? The answer seems to lie not in differences in the quality of American schools but in the level of involvement by parents in their children's learning. The parental emphasis on education seems to be greater abroad.