Catherine Brown, Scott Sargrad and Meg Benner for the Center for American Progress: In 2014, parents of students at Horace Mann Elementary School in Northwest Washington spent more than $470,000 of their own money to support the school's programs.
With just under 290 students enrolled for the 2013-14 school year, this means that, in addition to public funding, Horace Mann spent about an extra $1,600 for each student. Those dollars, equivalent to 9 percent of the District of Columbia's average per-pupil spending, paid for new art and music teachers and classroom aides to allow for small group instruction. During the same school year, the parent-teacher association raised an additional $100,000 in parent donations and collected more than $200,000 in membership dues, which it used for similar initiatives in subsequent years. Not surprisingly, Horace Mann is one of the most affluent schools in the city, with only 6 percent of students coming from low-income families. …
To better understand the landscape of parent fundraising and what it means for disadvantaged students in particular, the Center for American Progress combined and analyzed several sources of data. First, we analyzed Internal Revenue Service filings and data sets on district revenues and expenditures to explore the scope of PTA fundraising in the country and how PTAs spend their dollars. Then, we evaluated districts' responses to PTA donations and how these policies influenced parent fundraising and school funding equity.
We found that, in fiscal 2013-14, the nation's 50 richest PTAs raised and spent $43 million for the nation's most affluent schools. Those parent funds provide programs, services and staff to affluent students; schools serving low-income students must spend public dollars to obtain these resources if they can afford them at all.
Districts can take policy actions, such as pooling a portion of parent donations or regulating the use of those donations, to benefit higher-poverty schools without substantially reducing overall parent contributions.
Not all Asian-Americans are the same
Margaret Simms for the Urban Institute: The economic position of Asian children varies substantially across the country. The Asian child poverty rate varies among states with a sizable Asian population — rising above the national Asian child poverty rate of 12 percent in Minnesota and New York, for example, while falling below the national rate in Illinois and Virginia, according to the Urban Institute's Children of Immigrants data tool.
Some of these differences are related to the different concentrations of Asian subgroups. In Minnesota, the poverty rate for children of Southeast Asian parents is 25 percent, as compared with 4 percent for children of East Asian and the Pacific parents. Similar but smaller differences exist between those groups in other states.
Many Asian children do well in school, often despite economic and social adversity, but their childhoods are not always pleasant. A study looking at Asian-American and Pacific Islander boys and young men in California reports that many found the school climate unwelcoming, and Southeast Asian and Pacific Islanders were routinely profiled by police and national security personnel.
Even the most successful Asian-Americans have faced barriers to upward mobility in corporate America. A 2011 Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics study finds that Asians are far less likely to work their way up to CEO and board positions in private companies. Although they were 6 percent of the population and 6.5 percent of the labor force in 2011, Asians held 2.4 percent of the total board seats in Fortune 500 companies; only 18 Asian Pacific Americans held CEO positions. A more recent report shows slow progress in recent years. While the number of Asians on Fortune 500 boards increased between 2012 and 2016 (from 2.1 to 3.1 percent), they are still one-half of their representation in the overall population.
While Asian-Americans, on average, fare well on measures of education and employment, a closer look reveals great diversity by ethnicity, immigration status and geographic area — as well as barriers to economic success. The "model minority" stereotype papers over these differences and hides the challenges many Asian-Americans face.
New immigrants are better educated
William Frey for the Urban Institute: The human capital attributes that immigrants bring to their destinations can differ from place to place based on the type of employment opportunities made available. It has often been the case that immigrant flows are "bimodal" with respect to their educational attainment. That is, compared with the resident population, new immigrants are more likely to be overrepresented at both the upper tiers and lower tiers of educational attainment.
This is currently the case. ... However, this analysis of the most recent American Community Survey data indicates that foreign-born arrivals from 2011 to 2015 are more highly educated than those who entered earlier. That is, nearly half (48 percent) of recently arrived immigrants are college graduates, as compared with only 28 percent of those who arrived before. Moreover, fewer have not received a high school education (19 percent) than among those who arrived previously (30 percent).
Some of this shift in immigrant education may be attributable to changed national origin trends favoring more immigrants from Asia. Nonetheless, the higher education attainment of recent immigrants presents new opportunities for workers and employers in immigrant destinations. In fact, college graduates are more prevalent among recent immigrant adults than among all adults in 90 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas.
Compiled by Joseph Lawler from reports published by the various think tanks.