Academic ProfilingLatinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap

Academic ProfilingLatinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap

Gilda L. Ochoa

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816687398

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press


Academic Profiling focuses on the schooling experiences and relationships between the two fastest growing groups in the United States—Asian Americans and Latinas/os. At a time when politicians and pundits debate the sources of an achievement gap, Academic Profiling turns our attention to students, teachers, and parents to learn about the opportunity and social gaps within schools. In candid and at times heart-wrenching detail, students in a California public high school share stories of support and neglect on their paths to graduation. Separated by unequal middle schools and curriculum tracking, students are divided by race/ethnicity, class, and gender. While those in an International Baccalaureate Program boast about socratic classes and stress release-sessions, students outside of such programs bemoan unengaged teaching and inaccessible counselors. Labeled “the elite,” “regular,” “smart,” or “stupid,” students encounter differential policing and assumptions based on their abilities. These disparities are compounded by the growth in the private tutoring industry where wealthier families can afford to spend thousands of dollars to enhance their children’s opportunities, furthering an accumulation of privileges. However, in spite of the entrenchment of inequality in today’s schools, Academic Profiling uncovers multiple forms of resilience and the ways that students and teachers are affirming identities, creating alternative spaces, and fostering critical consciousness. As the story of this California high school unfolds, we also learn about the possibilities and limits of change when Gilda L. Ochoa shares the research findings with the high school.