WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) are introducing the All Students Count Act, legislation that aims to support equitable access to education by ensuring that student data collections capture the diverse experiences of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander children.
While the Department of Education has made significant progress in disaggregating and improving data on K-12 student achievement for major racial and ethnic groups, including “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander,” they do not currently require the collection and reporting of data on Asian American or Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ethnic subgroups, collapsing dozens of distinct ethnic groups, each with unique histories and varying access to social and economic opportunities, into broad and unhelpful categories.
“As someone who came to this country alone, at 16, with nothing in my pockets – I deeply understand the unique challenges in the US education system that immigrant communities face and persist for generations after,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “Our students deserve visibility at all levels. By ensuring that the Department of Education, state education agencies, and school districts collect and report data for a minimum of 15 Asian American and six Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander subgroups, we can work to close the education gap in our communities.”
“In Hawaii, we especially understand the importance of diversity and how it impacts the experiences of our communities,” said Senator Hirono. “Without data disaggregation, it’s harder for our schools to address the unique needs of our students. Every keiki deserves to be seen and supported by our education system—this bill will help ensure they are.”
Nearly a quarter of Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and Vietnamese adults aged 25 and older have not completed high school. The absence of disaggregated data perpetuates the dangerous “model minority” stereotype, minimizing the challenges faced by Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and eroding support for race-conscious programs such as affirmative action.
The All Students Count Act would:
- Require the U.S. Department of Education, state education agencies, and school districts to collect and report disaggregated data for a minimum of 15 Asian American and 6 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander subgroups; and
- Direct the Institute of Education Sciences to assess statistical methods that will maximize reporting for these groups.
Jayapal has been a longtime advocate for student equity at all levels. A member of the Education and the Workforce Committee and Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, she also leads the College for All Act, which would eliminate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for single-parent families making up to $125,000 and married families up to $250,000, while also making community college free for every person across the country.