API Caucus Meeting Minutes

Hello! We have compiled our meeting minutes from the past three years. These meetings were held in National Harbor, Md., Denver, Colo., and San Antonio, Texas. If you are a part of the API Caucus, please review the minutes and let us know about any changes you might want to make. If you’re interested in being a part of the API Caucus, use these minutes to get to know us a little better! Click to download.

2011 – National Harbor

2012 – Denver

2013 – San Antonio

API Caucus: Our diverse diaspora is alive and growing

By Dr. Ashleigh Molloy
Director at Transformation Education Institute
TASH International Committee Chair

The recent meeting of the API Caucus at C.E.C saw our meeting room full to the brim. It was encouraging to view attendees that personified the diverse Diaspora of our Asian Pacific Islanders community. Each person provided a brief summary of their background and their work. Japan, Taiwan, China, and Hawaii were just some of the places represented. API Caucus provides me as the Canadian representative with the opportunity to experience the breath scope and dynamism of the project being undertaken to improve the outcomes for persons with special needs. These projects include a variety of research-based programs that definitely impact the local community. My participation in the API Caucus continues to validate my personal and professional commitment to being a lifelong learner as I explore the rich cultures of the Asian Pacific Islanders community. It remains for me a distinct privilege to be a member of this Caucus lead by our dedicated co-chairs Kim Doan and Allisence Chang.

Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed by the individual bloggers on this site are solely personal and do not necessarily represent the views of the API Caucus.

Caucus meeting @ CEC convention 2013

We just got back from the CEC Convention & Expo in San Antonio. During our API caucus meeting on Friday, we had an awesome turnout including many new and old faces. It was great to have such a productive brainstorming session about where we want to be headed in the future. Here are a few pictures Dr. Ashleigh Molloy took and would like to share with the group.

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A safe school environment for everyone

By Kim Doan
Teacher Educator in a large College of Education

I was on my way to a 12noon meeting on campus but needed a second cup of java for the day. While standing in line for coffee, a colleague approached me to ask if I would promote an event that his Philosophy department was hosting. The event was a lecture about school violence and safe schools, a topic very relevant to preservice teachers so I was amenable to promoting the event in my classes and agreed to do so.

During this brief conversation with my colleague, he said, “Do you know about the violence in the Philadelphia schools where the Black students were beating up on the Asian kids?” I’m not sure of my colleague’s motive for referring to the incidences in which groups of African American teenagers assaulted Asian immigrant students at a Philadelphia high school and in the neighborhoods surrounding the school in 2009. These incidences made national news headlines when it came to light that the school administrators did little to resolve the issue. I am a product of Los Angeles Unified School District and later taught in LAUSD and Pomona Unified, and while I was relatively new to the Philadelphia area, I was not new to school violence.

School violence is an issue that needs prompt solutions as it affects everyone in the school. Every student should feel safe at school, regardless of the school of attendance, racial composition of its student body, socioeconomics of the neighborhood in which the school sits, or qualifications of the teachers. While there are racial undertones to some incidences of school violence, there are answers that are not dependent on race. That is, teachers, administrators, school security and community police should take the incidences seriously, regardless of the race of the victims or perpetrators.

This brief meeting with my colleague bothered me afterwards for a few days and I had to reflect on why. As an Asian American educator who has written on the topic of Asian American students, I am aware of many of the issues that affect the Asian American community. In this instance, I realize that while some may attach race to school violence, violence is violence regardless of the race of the perpetrators or the race of the victims. Would I feel differently had it been the Asian immigrant students who were assaulting African American students?  I think not!

What do you think? What does your school or school district do to ensure students’ safety while in school and in the surrounding neighborhoods?

Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed by the individual bloggers on this site are solely personal and do not necessarily represent the views of the API Caucus.

Minority teacher in a minority majority world

By Allisence Chang
Self-contained elementary teacher {Phoenix, AZ}

I spent my high school days in a town that I can say pretty much reflects the make up of the current demographics of the United States — the vast majority of the families were White. Aside from that, there were a few Black families, a few Hispanic families, and a few Asian families including mine. It wasn’t much different when I went to college in Michigan, although I suspect the overall minority population was a little higher due to large amount of international Masters and PhD students.

After college, I eventually settled in Phoenix, Ariz. for a job. Growing up in the Northeast, I knew little about the makeup of the Southwest. I imagined sandy-haired cowboys walking up and down the streets wearing wide-brimmed hats and gripping handguns hanging from holsters. As you might suspect, I was a little off. Only the sheriffs wear cowboy hats and people don’t generally hang guns from holsters, they keep them concealed in pockets and purses.

Phoenicians aren’t generally blond either. In fact, 41% of the Phoenix population is of Hispanic or Latino origin (census.gov). At the school I teach at, the vast majority of the students are Hispanic: 63%, followed by 18% White, 9% Black, 9% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 1% unspecified (AZ Dept. of Education). Notice how there are zero Asians.

Growing up in the Northeast, I was the minority in the classroom — almost everyone was White. Twenty years later in Phoenix, everything is different — the majority (White) has become a minority and one of the minority groups (Hispanic) has become the majority. This fact is pretty clear if you take a walk around my elementary school, but one thing has not changed, I am still the minority.

Sadly, all the same struggles of being a minority are still there. I still hear students saying rude things; I still hear students calling me names; and I still hear students giving off the impression that because they’re in the majority, none of it matters. Imagine what these minority students sitting in the majority seat could do for a their school and ultimately a country that continues to be majority dominated.

As a self-contained special education teacher, I honestly don’t come into contact with as many students as other teachers. It’s difficult for me to feel like I really have the authority or relationship with a lot of these students to truly take advantage of this potential teachable moment. This is not to say the minority (White, Black, and other) students at my school or as a minority teacher I don’t also have an important role to play — what that role is, I’m still trying to figure out.

Most of the time being Asian is not a huge deal and I’m fairly certain that the students and parents I work with directly have never given my race another thought. Nor have I ever thought that being a minority teacher at my school has been a particularly difficult experience. I really do love my job, my school, and the students at my school. What is it like where you work? Are you in the majority or the minority? Who is the majority where you are? Does that or has that ever changed things? Share your stories! We would love to hear them!

Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed by the individual bloggers on this site are solely personal and do not necessarily represent the views of the API Caucus.

Call for proposals!

First of all, Happy New Year!

Second, check out our About page. If you’re new to the API Caucus or what to find out more about us, check out our About page. It includes our Vision and Mission statements, too.

Third, kudos to Lusa Lu. Check out Lusa’s most recent publication in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Teaching Exceptional Children. Lusa’s article, “Demystifying the IEP process for diverse parents of children with disabilities” includes communication tips for diverse families including API families.

Fourth, calling all proposals. Attached is the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus’ Call for Proposals for presentations at the upcoming Council for Exceptional Children convention in Denver in April 2012. Many, many thanks to Ya-yu Lo for preparing the CFP. Please forward the CFP to colleagues who may be interested. More info to come. Download the CFP here!

Fifth, get excited for CEC! The API Caucus meeting at this year’s upcoming CEC will be held on  lucky Friday, April 13th from 11:30am-1pm. This coincides with CEC’s lunch start time. We plan to order Chinese food, eat and fellowship with friends and colleagues, and listen to presentations during this time. We found two local restaurants who indicated on their website that they will deliver. I will get back to you on this.

Lastly, NAME! The upcoming November 2012 conference for the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) is in Philadelphia. If you’ll be presenting at this conference, Kim is close by so let her know if you want to present on the West Chester Univ. campus. NAME will post its request for proposals in late January if you’re interested in submitting.

Our new blog

Welcome to our blog. We are excited to have this opportunity to start this blog and have a more active voice in advancing the causes of Asian Pacific Islander children with special needs. We hope to share information, discuss current trends, and be a voice for Asian/Pacific Islanders in CEC. Join us in our new adventure together!

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