Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Educational Opportunity and Empowerment

Advancing Educational Access and Opportunity for All California Students

Higher education is a complex issue for California's diverese communities, impacts everyone, including Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students. Recently, Due to recent high profile court cases and legislative proposals, large part of the debate has focused on affirmative action programs. 

Advancing Justice - LA helped lead the statewide AANHPI campaign against Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action in California.  Following Prop 209’s passage, Advancing Justice - LA litigated a key case against University of California, Berkeley on behalf of Filipino American applicants, which led the adoption of a holistic admissions policy on the Berkeley campus. In the U.S. Supreme Court case of Fisher v. UT Austin, Advancing Justice - LA also filed amicus briefs in support of affirmative action programs.

With the enactment of Prop 209 in California since 1996, Advancing Justice - LA believes it is critical to the future of our increasingly diverse state to address discrimination and equity within a larger context: the long-term disinvestment in our state’s public education system. The impact and significance of decades of disinvestment in our public education system is being felt by all California students, as more young people compete for less opportunity and many students of color, including AANHPI students, are not able to compete at all.

By taking a broader approach to higher education issues related to access and equity, Advancing Justice - LA aims to provide a more accurate picture of the issues facing AANHPI students, in addition to advocating for policies and solutions that benefit California students, particularly the most disadvantaged.

Read more about Advancing Justice - LA's stance on this topic here.

Vision 

Advancing Justice - LA is committed to developing services, programs and effective policy solutions that build pathways for AANHPI students to enter and graduate from college. With a “student-centered” approach and strong community support from students, parents, educators and government agencies, Advancing Justice - LA is committed to the following goals and improvements by the year 2020: 

  • Increasing enrollment, retention, and two-year transfer or four-year graduation rates by 15% among underrepresented groups including African American, Latino and specific AANHPI students in community colleges, California State Universities (CSU), and University of California (UC) schools;
  • Increasing high school graduation rates for underrepresented groups including African Americans, Latinos and specific AANHPI groups by 10% based on 2014 graduation rates;
  • A 5% increase in enrollement spots among California residents at CSU and UC schools in conjunction with a freeze on 2014 non-resident enrollment numbers.

Platform

In order to reach these goals, Advancing Justice - LA’s policy platform focuses on four areas of education advancement that span across both elementary, high school and college:

1) Students First

K-12

  • Promotion and support for one-on-one intervention services for students (tutors/academic coaches, school psychologists, school nurses) both inside of the classroom and to support healthy families outside of the classroom
  • Positive, holistic behavioral approach to school discipline
  • Culture of encouragement and high expectations for students pursuing both academic and civic interests within greater school community
  • College/career training including academic/social enrichment programs inside and outside of school

Higher Education

  • Programs and services existing at the University level that outreach to and retain low-income and underrepresented students in higher education at all points of a students' educational path
  • Culture of encouragement and high expectations for students pursuing both academic and civic interests in school
  • Promotion of career and internship opportunities providing both soft and technical skills for workforce readiness upon college graduation

2) Academics

K-12

  • An exploration of all academic options for successful graduation from high school also including the option to take AP, honors level and challenging coursework for students pursuing college readiness
  • The option to explore and be empowered by ethnic studies courses and curriculum during K-12 education and the ability to learn about diverse leadership history, communities and ethnic backgrounds in California
  • Professional development and support for professional staff, teachers and administrators to cultivate the academic development for underrepresented students

Higher Education

  • Improvement in prerequisite/general education course availability for community college, CSU, and UC students

3) Educational Access and Success

K-12

  • The fundamental right for all students: including the most vulnerable populations to attend K-12 schools that provide equitable academic and civic opportunities regardless of geographic location

Higher Ed

  • Public higher education options that are affordable, particularly for low-income families
  • College financial aid and scholarship opportunities supporting pursuit of college and ultimate degree completion
  • Increased enrollment, retention and degree completion for black, latino, pacific islander and historically underrepresented communities in higher education
  • No quotas or upper limit ceiling on admission and enrollment of any racial/ethnic group, including Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

4) Diversity and Inclusion

K-12

  • Finding common ground amongst all communities affected by forms of systemic racism and education inequities
  • Address bias inside and outside of the classroom including institutionalized racism limiting the opportunities afforded to certain students

Higher Ed

  • Finding common ground amongst all communities affected by forms of systemic racism and education inequities
  • Address bias inside and outside of the classroom including institutionalized racism limiting the opportunities afforded to certain students.
  • Cultivating an environment where students of color feel integrated into the larger university community

Through policy improvements in these areas, Advancing Justice - LA seeks to address the social, economic and systemic barriers that prevent students from building a strong foundation for higher education and keeps them from receiving the support they need to successfully navigate college. 

Resources

The State of Higher Education in California: Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Report

More than one in seven Californians identify as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI). As the state’s fastest growing racial or ethnic group, 6.3 million Asian Americans and 347,501 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), represent 14% of California’s population. In the context of higher education, this new report reveals great disparities in access and success for this tremendously diverse community.

Download the Report >>

Statement of Principles: Expanding College Access and Success for All Californians

Over 30 organizations and individuals have signed onto a statement of priniciples outlining the critical importance of quality education in creating a pathway to socio-economic success. Signatories support the following principles regarding access to and success in public higher education: reversing disinvestment in public higher educatiom; finding common ground amongst all impacted communities; ensuring college admission for more California students; better preparing more students for college; better retaining enrolled college students; making higher education more affordable; addressing racial discrimination; and, promoting diversity and inclusion.

Read more >>

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California: How Higher Education Diversity Benefits our Communities - Joint Policy Report (March 2014)

As a coalition primarily of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) civil rights and higher education groups, we present this policy report to dispel public misconceptions that have recently surfaced around efforts to diversify higher education. In fact, AAPIs have deep and abiding reasons to support college and university diversity. Reports in the media about Proposition 209 (which banned affirmative action) greatly benefiting AAPI admissions and about the role of SAT scores are misleading and contradicted by the evidence. Contrary to the harmful “model minority” myth, many AAPI ethnic groups face considerable educational disadvantages and have lower rates of college access.

Download the full report or one-page summary available in English, Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese.

AAPIs and Affirmative Action Factsheet
Download the full factsheet

Race Still Matters: Making the Case for Race Conscious Admissions in Higher Education Infographic
Download the full infographic


If you would like more information about Advancing Justice - LA’s Education Opportunity and Empowerment project, please contact:

Geralyn Yparraguirre
Education Policy Advocate
[email protected]

For Legal Help

Advancing Justice - LA’s hotlines prioritize assistance to low-income persons in the following areas of law: family, immigration, consumer, public benefits, employment, housing, and civil rights.

English: 888.349.9695
需要協助嗎: 800.520.2356

ត្រូវការជំនួយជាភាសាខ្មែរ:

800.867.3126
도움이 필요하십니까?: 800.867.3640
Tagalog: 855.300.2552
ต้องการความช่วยเหลือ: 800.914.9583
Cần sự giúp đỡ: 800.267.7395

 

Related Materials

Fisher v. UT Austin II - Amicus Brief

The Asian American Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) amicus brief, briefs urging the nation’s highest court to uphold University of Texas at Austin’s (UT-Austin) affirmative action policy, represents 141 Asian American organizations, student groups, and bar associations, as well as,

The State of Higher Education in California: Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Report

More than one in seven Californians identify as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI). As the state’s fastest growing racial or ethnic group, 6.3 million Asian Americans and 347,501 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), represent 14% of California’s population.

Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.