"Men and women of all races are born with the same range of abilities. But ability is not just the product of birth. Ability is stretched or stunted by the family that you live with, and the neighborhood you live in—by the school you go to and the poverty or the richness of your surroundings. It is the product of a hundred unseen forces playing upon the little infant, the child, and finally the man.” -Lyndon B. Johnson
OCA recognizes equal opportunity admission policies as a cornerstone program that effectively responds to historical discrimination, racial economic disparities, and promotes a more equitable playing field for all APA students. By expanding opportunity to the historically underprivileged, higher education policies can empower and advance communities. The community’s support is demonstrated in accordance with a 2011 Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) report, that says that 75% of Asian American support equal opportunity programs.
In a stand of solidarity, OCA joins advocates from the APA, African American, Latino, and LGBT communities to advocate for equal opportunity policies that represent a life defining equalizer for APAs in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin Supreme Court Case.
If the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of the plaintiff, equal opportunity policies would hurt diversity in higher education and disenfranchise tens of thousands of APAs. According to a 2010 UCLA study, United States schools are more segregated today than in the 1950s.
The model minority perception of APAs is extremely damaging to educational attainment for many in our community. OCA recognizes the realities of racialized economic disparity among communities in accordance to a 2010 census report; nearly 60% of Hmong, 53% of Cambodian, and 50% of Laotian Americans have less than a high school education.
Students protest for data disaggregation on Capitol Hill.
Education is often referred to as the great equalizer and a key component for social and economic mobility for all Americans. OCA believes that K-12 and higher education must be fully accessible to all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. To this end, OCA’s education priorities include ensuring that student data is disaggregated so that necessary resources can be provided to our most needing communities.
OCA’s K-12 platform also includes efforts to ensure that parents, especially limited English proficient (LEP) parents, are able to understand and access resources necessary for their children’s success. Additionally, OCA advocates to expand anti-bullying measures to include LEP and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. AAPI students are often bullied based on their race and language skills, and LGBT AAPI students often face additional hardship because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. OCA works to ensure that federal protections include everyone within our community.
OCA also remains committed to ensuring that higher education is accessible and affordable for all AAPI students, including undocumented students. OCA’s higher education platform includes a congressional mandate for all public universities to allow the enrollment of undocumented students, along with translations for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and its availability for undocumented students.