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Asian Americans in Class: Charting the Achievement Gap among Korean American Youth
by Jamie Lew
New York: Teachers College Press
2006, 144 pages
ISBN 0807746940, $54.00
Jamie Lew's Asian Americans in Class: Charting the Achievement Gap among Korean American Youth challenges the widely believed model minority myth that lumps all Asians as being model students. It debunks the myth by presenting convincing, in-depth ethnographic studies of 72 Korean American students in New York City schools. Relying on Bourdieu' s "social capital" concept, Lew compares high-achieving, middle-class Korean American students who attend an elite magnet high school with Korean American students who have dropped out of neighborhood high schools and who are poor.
She finds that class determines how much and what kind of educational resources and social networks students can gain access to, and discovers that the process of obtaining or not obtaining social capital differentiates the academically successful students from the dropouts even within the same ethnic group. The most original aspect of this book …