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Asian Students – Not College Ready in St. Paul? Potential loss of $8 billion in lifetime earnings!


On average, Asian American students in the Saint Paul school district are not adequately prepared for college. Asian American students studying in the Saint Paul School District face a potential loss of $8 billion in lifetime earnings if they do not complete college. This is a conclusion Chai has reached after reviewing data on the Saint Paul Public Schools website. School officials presented some of this data at a recent meeting with the Coalition of Asian American Leaders.

Here is what the data tells us:

The average composite score for Asian American students was 18 indicating, on average, these students are not college ready. In 2013, 70 percent of Asian American students took the ACT test, of these a very low percentage were ready for college coursework in the following subjects tested: Science (12 %), Math (32 %), Reading (15 %), and English (33 %).

At the same time Asian American students have the best attendance rates and the lowest suspension rates in the Saint Paul school district.

Other data show a similar trend – the percentage of students passing the Advanced Placement test (24 %).

When we look at the academic pipeline the results are similar – Asian student performance on the MCA tests were low: 26 percent proficiency in reading, 44 percent proficiency in math, 20 percent proficiency in science.

This issue is critical because a third of the students in the school district are of Asian origin.

64.5 percent of students are of Hmong origin, 17.5 percent Karen, 2.6 percent Vietnamese and 1.2 percent of Cambodian origin.

The school district needs to give this challenge the topmost priority.

The almost 12,000 Asian American students in the Saint Paul School district represent an economic portfolio of $17 billion in lifetime earnings if they complete a college degree versus $9 billion if they just completed high school. Minnesota, St. Paul and the students will lose $8 billion in lifetime earnings if the students do not complete college successfully. So this issue is very serious.

It is true it takes a village to educate a child – so enough of the blame game – time for parents, teachers, administrators, city and students to fix this now.