Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The Democrats' Coming Asian Voter Problem Revisited

In light of yesterday's crushing recalls of the three :San Francisco school board members, I thought it was a good time to re-up my piece on the Democrats' evolving woes with Asian voters.
Washington Post:
"The board also argued that Lowell High School, an elite program populated overwhelmingly by Asian American and White students, needed an admissions system that would better represent the city’s Black and Hispanic residents. The board’s abrupt decision to alter the admission rules, switching to a lottery, incensed San Francisco’s large Chinese-American population"
"Which brings us to the key issue for many Asian voters: education. It is difficult to overestimate how important education is to Asian voters, who see it as the key tool for upward mobility—a tool that even the poorest Asian parents can take advantage of. But Democrats are becoming increasingly associated with an approach to schooling that seems anti-meritocratic, oriented away from standardized tests, gifted and talented programs and test-in elite schools—all areas where Asian children have excelled.
It does not seem mysterious that Asian voters might react negatively to this approach. In fact, it would be mysterious if they didn’t. James Hohmann of the Washington Post captured the drawbacks of the current Democratic approach well in a recent column:
Efforts to lower academic standards and scale back educational opportunities in the name of racial equity are backfiring on liberals from coast to coast, including in the bluest big cities in America….Eliminating gifted and talented programs has become fashionable on the left, based on well-intentioned desires to close the achievement gap for African American and Latino students, but it’s alienating many parents — as well as graduates — who prospered under higher standards. Throwing less-prepared students into classes with motivated children forces teachers to reduce the rigor of lesson plans so that everyone can keep up….
The Virginia governor’s race shows the issue’s potency. While much has been made of Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s emphasis on critical race theory, the Republican also promised to fight against weakening standards for magnet schools. He said he would push for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a top-flight school in Fairfax County, to revert to a solely merit-based admission process. Last year, the local school board eliminated an entrance exam for the school and told reviewers to instead consider “experience factors,” such as a child’s socioeconomic background.
It seems obvious that where this approach will really kill Democrats is among Asian voters. One might wonder how the Democrats did not see this coming. And now they're starting to reap what they sowed. The results summarized above, barring a Democratic change of course, are likely just the beginning."

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