Why do Asians excel in the United States?
During the first wave of Asian migration to America in the 1900s, most early Asian immigrants were low-wage farm laborers. To date, the Asian group is the highest contributor to U.S. household income.
In 2021, Asians outperformed white Americans and other ethnic groups in education, achieving the highest SAT/ACT scores—despite affirmative action that punishes Asians for being at the top of the game.
In 2022, the average performance on the composite ACT fell for the fifth year—the lowest performance since 1991. However, across all racial and ethnic groups, only Asian students improved in average scores. [EdW]
In raising successful adults, studies show that Asian values that are typically conservative, religious, and traditional contribute to assiduousness, discipline, and submission to authority. [Frontiers]
Asians score highest on SAT/ACT.
1. Asians see poverty as an inspiration
In the United States, poverty is blamed for poor educational outcomes. But for Asians, poverty is an inspiration to succeed. Admittedly, teachers like Caryl Ayala, who exposed the “gay agenda” in public schools, see the need for more budget for academic programs.
About 74% of Asian American adults were immigrants born outside the United States. About 93% describe themselves as hardworking. [Pew]
The push and pull of most Asians who relocated to the U.S. were because of poverty in what mostly were war-torn countries in Asia.
Similarly, America left Vietnam destitute in 1973, but in 2022, the country ranked as one of the largest economies in Southeast Asia.
The first Asian wave came after the two world wars. They saw America as a land of opportunity. There was little of it then in their country.
These Asian countries were not necessarily poor, but the environment (an environmental coefficient) they grew up with encouraged them to work hard.
Shaped by genes and environment
Genes and the environment play critical roles in intelligence. Psychologists believe the true heritability quotient for I.Q. is 0.5 percent; half is the environment. [NCBI]
Thus, the “parent’s and environmental coefficient” contribute to the “modifiability of intelligence.” The point is poverty pushed Asians to work harder.
Success through higher education
More than half of Asians ages 25 and older (54%) have a bachelor’s degree or more education, compared with 33% of the U.S. population in the same age range. [Pew]
poverty pushed Asians to work harder.
2. Conservative religious values promote positive well-being
Religiosity and conservativism often go together. Therefore, faith plays a significant role in shaping a child’s morals. Naturally, the more conservative the family, the more they hold on to religious tradition and the discipline that goes with it.
Most have a particular form of religious devotion. Hence, it’s common for Asians to be more prayerful—asking God even for trivial matters, such as homework—to boost grades.
Effects of religiosity
Studies suggest that prayer is associated with positive well-being and physical health. Incidentally, “countries with less wealth tend to have higher rates of prayer,” according to Pew Research, which doesn’t mean prayers are the cause or effect.
Confucianism, which emphasizes the importance of hierarchy and obedience, has been found to have a significant influence on child-rearing practices in many Asian cultures.
It follows that when a child is respectful and submissive to their parents, they will likely accomplish their school work more diligently.
Studies have shown that Asian morals play a role in fostering discipline critical during a child’s mentoring and academic years.
(Source: Li, J., & Wong, R. Y. (2018). Cultural models of parenting in East Asian societies. In Handbook of Parenting and Child Development Across Cultures (pp. 117-131). Springer, Cham.)
Belongingness: Conservatives are happier, according to a study
Pew research shows that conservatives are more family-oriented, which is a critical factor in one’s happiness. Conservative families tend to keep specific values intact, such as respect, independence, and disciplined learning.
A high 86% of “core conservatives” own homes, effectively promoting stronger bonds. In contrast, a “liberal family” allows its members to do things “as they see fit.”
cONSERVATIVE FAMILIES KEEP VALUES INTACT.
3. Submission to authority
Patriarchy and “tiger moms”
Filial piety is vital among Asians. Hindus, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans worship their ancestors. Hence, extended families in a single household are common, where the patriarch (or matriarch) has authority, and the rest obey.
Study shows that obedience and respect for authority boost academic performance. [JOLE]
Tiger parents push hard
Corporal punishment is part of discipline in a typical Asian family. Perhaps one reason why it’s easier for (first and second-generation) Asian Americans to submit to any form of authority.
Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Filipino “Tiger parents” usually force their kids to learn violin and piano. These enforce discipline. Also, studies show learning musical instruments promotes brain development.
respect for authority boost academic performance.
4. School culture in Asia imposes discipline
Asians are used to studying longer hours
Although it is not ideal, Asian countries have longer school hours than Americans. For example, South Korean middle and high school students stay in school for 8.5 hours.
In contrast, American schools give little homework; students stay in school for 7.5 hours. They also have Special Education classes (with IEPs) equivalent to the 2nd to 6th-grade level.
Patrimony instilled in schools
Many Asian schools begin with the national anthem. Students gather to raise the flag and sing the national anthem in an open space.
In Philippine cinemas, the national anthem is sung just before the first and the last movie. Everyone is expected to stand. In 2017, a man was arrested for ignoring the unspoken rule.
USA public schools let go of nationalism
In the United States, standing for the Pledge of Allegiance or playing the national anthem is optional, especially in government-funded schools.
Although the Star Spangled Banner is still played in sports gatherings, embellishments are allowed, something that many Asians would find inappropriate.
School uniforms impose discipline
Students in public schools in Asia are required to wear uniforms. The psychology behind these allows students to follow the rules, respect hierarchies, and complete obedience.
- 9/10 of teachers believe school uniforms help to reduce bullying.
- 3/4 of mothers say school uniforms make their lives easier.
- 2/3 of parents believe wearing school uniforms puts everyone on a level playing field.
- 7/10 children believe wearing a school uniform helps them to fit in.
Conflicting studies on school uniforms
According to a 2021 study, students did not see the effectiveness of wearing school uniforms. A majority also said it didn’t promote school belonging.
In contrast, a Malaysian study in 2020 showed that teachers, on the other hand, saw the effectiveness of uniforms.
- Encouraged inequality in terms of socioeconomic status.
- Limited discrimination and bullying related to socioeconomic status.
- Uniforms are essential to safety and security.
- It helps control and manage students.
- Those in more prestigious schools had a stronger sense of belongingness.
5. Asian standard forces a student to be competitive
The pedagogical methodology in Asia has heavier standards. Chinese education is stricter and more precise, while Singapore is known for its teaching discipline.
The world’s most difficult tests are in Asia
High-stakes testing proves the point, but it has its downside
Higher standards mean students are forced to study well. As a result, the “high-stakes testing” culture has pushed them to be highly competitive.
The American education system is much easier
The American education pedagogy has special classes, innovative rubrics, and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).
For public schools to get funding, lessons are flexible to ensure students pass, even if it means lowering standards to maintain an acceptable graduation rate.
In Asia, students are forced to do their best to pass all classes. Otherwise, fail one and repeat an entire semester. But in the USA, the high school graduation rate is at an all-time high.
High school students can graduate easily by completing the required outputs—regardless of the quality. The result is evident with historic lows in math and reading.
The world’s most difficult exams are topped by Asian countries.
5. Asian conservative values boost academic achievements
Personal values play a significant role in learning habits. Particularly in higher education, these values significantly affect a student’s character and ultimately affect their academic achievements. [NCBI]
Unique Asian etiquettes
- Saying good morning while bowing their heads to teachers is a common trait among Asians
- Thais, Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese students bow to their teachers (or anyone else) to show respect. The lower the bow, the more respect is conveyed.
- When speaking to older people, young Koreans refrain from eye contact because it is considered rude behavior.
- In the Philippines, teachers and those in authority are addressed with “ma’am and sir” followed by their last names. Students do not call teachers by their names.
- Young people end their sentences with “po” or “opo” to show respect.
- Asians bend down when walking between two conversing people.
- There are rules for school attire and hygiene that include trimmed nails and short hair for men.
American students are given more rights than they can handle
Although other schools enforce more discipline, teachers have the leeway. Unfortunately, some teachers are more accommodating, while others have given up.
- Some teachers allow students to use mobile phones or eat during class.
- It is common for students and even teachers to stand on a chair with shoes on.
- Some teachers allow students to put their feet on the table or on another chair during class, which is considered horrific for conservative Asians.
- Some public schools allow students to wear comfortable clothing, such as hoodies and sexy or revealing outfits. Students can wear blankets like cloaks or pajamas and sleepers during school days.
- No parental signature is needed for school activities once students turn 18. In Democrat cities, teenagers can even opt for (state-funded) gender transition surgery without their parents’ consent.
Respect for school authorities drops in the U.S.
Respect for school authorities continues to drop in the United States because students are given more rights than they can handle. Less discipline translates to a lack of academic discipline.
Rarely do you hear students say, “Excuse me” or “Thank you.” Most of them do not fear authority and can be rude a lot of times.
In 2023-24, more states adopted the 4-day school week in order to combat the teacher-student ratio. But there are other reasons: student lack of respect that contributes to teacher’s low morale. Efforts to combat teacher shortages don’t address the real problem.
Students’ respect for teachers dropped from 79% to 31%: A new Harris Poll finds that fewer adults believe teachers respect parents or students — and that fewer believe parents and students respect teachers. [USA Today]
Values influence academic achievements.
The bottom line is that family values significantly impact academic discipline, which translates into getting better jobs, and filial piety, a common trait among Asians, unquestionably fosters mutual support in achieving goals.