New act calls for disaggregation of data in education

Congressmember Mike Honda proposed the All Students Count Act, which would require State Educational Agencies to disaggregate data into more specific categories in the K-12 grade levels.

“Better data brings better policies,” said Honda in a statement released on his website, “Being counted means that you have a voice. As a lifelong educator, I will continue to ensure that every child – regardless of race, gender, or disability – has a fighting chance at educational success and life opportunities.”

The goal of the All Students Count Act is to break down current categories–such as race–into more specific ethnic groups. For example, it would divide the “Asian” racial category into Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.

“It’s important to realize that all cultures/ethnic groups that fall under these umbrella terms have distinct cultures, histories, languages, etc, and that they also have distinct needs and face unique barriers,” said Eileen Yoshina, director of diversity and equity at SPSCC.

Often, there are differences in statistics, such as socioeconomic status, between specific ethnicities within the general categories that are studied by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. These are overlooked because so many different ethnicities are clumped together. “If we know about these disparities, we can direct resources accordingly,” said Yoshina.

The act would also allow students to identify their gender pronouns and any disabilities. “This would allow needs to be addressed in a more thoughtful fashion as different communities under the same current category often have different needs,” said Tyrone Cawston, diversity outreach coordinator for the SPSCC Campus Activities Board.

The All Students Count has the support of over 150 organizations across America.  Involvement at SPSCC first began when SPSCC alumni, involved with the Asian Coalition for Equity (ACE) at the University of Washington, reached out to students to gain support of the movement.

The Diversity and Equity Center held a photoshoot in which students held a sign with the typical census categories used by OSPI. They checked the general category they fit into and then underneath they wrote how they identified. The goal of the photoshoot was to provide a visual representation of how the act affects students of all ages, genders, and race ethnicities.

Organizers of the movement will use this student involvement as part of their presentation to congress.

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