School District Ejected Asian Students from ‘Students of Color’ Category Due to Satisfactory Performance

In this Sept. 9, 2015 file photo, students arrive for the first day of school at Stuyvesan
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The North Thurston Public School district in Washington released a statement in its “equity report” in which officials apologized for ejecting Asian students from their “students of color” category because they were performing satisfactorily.

“[I]n one of our online documents from 2019, titled ‘Monitoring Student Growth,’ we evaluated the achievement data by ‘Students of Color’ and ‘Students of Poverty,’” the district stated. “In the document we grouped White and Asian students together.”

Former educator-turned construction worker Steven Welliever tweeted the school district had “officially kicked out” Asian students from the “students of color” classification:

After an apparently significant response from the district’s Asian-American community to being removed from the “students of color” category, district officials apologized “for the negative impact we have caused and removed the monitoring report from our website.”

The school district continued to attempt to justify its actions:

We feel it is important to continue the practice of disaggregating data, so we make equity-based decisions. When we reviewed our disaggregated data it showed that our district is systemically meeting the instructional needs of both our Asian and White students and not meeting the instructional needs for our Black, Indigenous, Multi-racial, Pacific Islander and Latinx students. The intent was never to ignore Asian students as “students of color” or ignore any systemic disadvantages they too have faced.

“We continue to learn and grow in our work with equity as a public-school system and we will ensure that we learn from this and do better in the future,” the school district said.

The original “Monitoring Student Growth” document displays graphs to demonstrate student performance as well as “opportunity gaps by race as well as income.” The document stated:

Students of Color compares outcomes for Asian and White students [to those] who identify as Black, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Multi-racial students, all of whom have experienced persistent opportunity gaps in our society. Students of Poverty is a visualization of opportunity gaps for students experiencing poverty, as measured by qualification for free or reduced price meals.

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