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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Little Asia on the Hill - New York Times

The New York Times has an article lamenting the number of Asian students in school, especially top Universities like Berkeley, which is apparently is apparently now 41 percent Asian.

Even at that apparently high percentage, Asian students apparently do so well that the schools still turn away more qualified Asian candidates than they should. And of course, there's the usual complaint that Asian students are nerds, uncreative, and don't ask questions in class.

As someone who grew up in Singapore, where we had 40 students per classroom, and only half-day classes and an incredibly uncreative teaching curriculum, I have to say that the excuses of poor high schools for other minority groups are just bunk. If there's a culture of learning and education, the students will do well and become great students. If not, then it doesn't matter how much creativity the school tries to give them, without a mastery of the fundamentals, all the creativity in the world just produces junk.

As someone who grew up in a much tougher academic environment than most Americans can imagine, all I can say is that if we continue to place value on ridiculous unimportant measures of quality and ignore the important ones, our living standards will drop. The argument should be about why our Math and Science education is so poor, not why there are so many Asians in America's best colleges.

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