Sunday, January 4, 2009

High grades, high stress for Asian-American students in Bay Area

Source: Mercury News

Senior T.J. Wey says she does "pretty well'' at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont.

That means straight A's so far this year at a school that boasts the eighth-highest test scores in the state — and where students and teachers both joke about the "Asian grade scale":

A = Average; B = Bad; C = Catastrophe; D = Disowned; F = Forever Forgotten.

They may just be kidding, but there's some truth lurking below: Many Asian parents, especially well-educated immigrants, set sky-high expectations for their children. And while that drive to achieve has put Asian students as a group at the top of the class, it's also forcing some uncomfortable conversations within the Asian community about the damage those demands may cause.

I have two main feelings about this issue. If parents put pressure on their child to do well in order for the child to succeed then that's a good thing. But more often than not, parents put pressure on their kids in order to satisfy their own needs and to show off to other parents. This is very dangerous. When a parent who was once a doctor in their native country and can't be a doctor anymore forces their child to become a doctor in their place, it is wrong but I can sympathize. But when the local garbage man who wasn't even a garbage man in their native country goes around boating that their kid is in medical school, I have a major problem with that.

And what about Asian kids who aren't good at school. Why do they have to suffer due to unrealistic expectations. School isn't for everyone. I know alot of kids who sucked at school but got really good jobs as mechanics or welders or artists.

Even though I'm educated, I never look down on blue-collar workers because they do the work I could never do. The reason I went to school was to avoid that type of work cause I wouldn't be able to hack it. I think the only blue-collar job I could possibly do is to be a card-dealer in a casino :)

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