Why so many Asian Americans are learning remotely

By: | April 12, 2021

Last month, Tsong Tong Vang was walking his 5-year-old grandson to the school bus in St. Paul, Minn., when, according to local media reports, a woman pulled up in a car and started yelling anti-Asian abuse and threats at him.

Reports of such incidents have been growing around the country since early last year. And they may be one reason for some Asian families not to send children to school in-person right now.

Asian American students are far more likely to be learning remotely than members of any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. As of February 2021, almost 7 in 10 Asian American K-12 students were still learning online only, according to the U.S. Education Department’s latest school survey. That’s 12 points higher than Hispanic students, 15 points higher than Black students, and 45 points higher than white students.

Some of that gap may be because a large number of the nation’s Asian students live in California, where most public schools remained closed in February. But the gap holds across the Northeast, the Midwest and the South, suggesting that Asian students are choosing to stay remote even where there are in-person options.

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