Asian Parents Defend Merit and Challenge Discrimination Across the Country

We are NYC Asian parents turned activists to push back against laws and admissions rules designed to dismantle merit and discriminate against our children. We fight for merit and fairness in admissions, and we are not alone.

San Francisco Asian parents celebrated when three school board members were recalled in a landslide. They were provoked by the Board’s efforts to reduce the number of Asian students at the high-ranking Lowell School by changing admissions criteria from merit based to lottery and further incited by racist, derogatory remarks towards Asians by one a board member.

A federal judge in Fairfax, Virginia recently ruled that the new “holistic” admissions for Thomas Jefferson High School (the top STEM high school in the country) illegally discriminates against Asian students, and that the aim of the school board amounts to “racial balancing for its own sake.”

In Boston, there are pending lawsuits by parents against the city for revamping admissions which “increased the odds of Black and Latino applicants getting in while decreasing the chances of white and Asian applicants” and a lack of transparency on the process.

For Asian parents in NYC, tensions resurfaced in 2018 when former Mayor de Blasio attempted to eliminate the SHSAT, a race-blind exam that is the sole criteria for admission into NYC’s famed Specialized High Schools. The explicit goal of removing the test was to reduce the number of Asian students and admit more Black and Hispanic students in their place.

Amy Tse, Yiatin Chu and Jean Hahn are public school parents and leaders of PLACE NYC, an education advocacy group and co-founders of Asian Wave Alliance, a new non-partisan Asian political club in NY.

Read the full Op-Ed in the Queens Chronicle: