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CCSA Releases Research Brief on Diversity and Academic Performance of AAPI Charter Public School Students in California

May 27, 2022

SACRAMENTO, CA  In observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) released a new research brief today entitled, Charter Public School Students in Focus: Asian American and Pacific Islanders, which finds 37,000 AAPI students currently attend a charter public school in the Golden State and, within the AAPI charter student school population, low-income Asian, Filipino, and Pacific Islander students outperformed their Asian, Filipino and Pacific Islander counterparts in traditional public schools in English Language Arts and Math.

“This is California’s first real glimpse at how charter public schools are advancing the academic achievement of AAPI students in local communities and how charters are adapting to meet the evolving needs of this incredibly diverse and broad student population,” said Myrna Castrejón, CCSA President and CEO. “Demographers predict AAPI individuals will become the largest immigrant group in the country in the next 40 years, so it is imperative that we continue to offer families high-quality public education opportunities that best serve their children and maximizes their academic potential.”

California is home to the largest AAPI population in the country with over 6.7 million AAPI people representing over 30% of the country’s Asian population. While studies show other demographic groups are leaving the state, California’s Asian population has grown by 25% in the past 10 years and is projected to keep growing. Experts predict that AAPI individuals will become the largest immigrant group in the country, surpassing Latino Americans in the next 40 years.

Charter Public School Students in Focus: Asian American and Pacific Islanders analyzed state AAPI student enrollment and demographic information, as well as student subgroup test results based on the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), the last time the state administrated the exam. CCSA then analyzed the state test results by comparing AAPI subgroups based on socioeconomic status.

CCSA’s research brief found that charter public schools are educating more low-income AAPI students (43%) compared to traditional public schools (38%). Currently, AAPI students make-up 5.5% of all charter public school students in the state. The research also found the most common native AAPI language spoken in charters are Vietnamese, Arabic and Filipino.

In addition to these insights, Charter Public School Students in Focus: Asian American and Pacific Islanders highlights three charter public schools that are producing strong academic results among its AAPI students. Two of the three schools are in the state’s capitol city of Sacramento: 

Sacramento Valley Charter School (K-8), Sacramento
AAPI student population: Punjabi
The first charter public school in the country to be established by the Punjabi community. Students access Punjabi language studies led by three full-time Punjabi language teachers. From 2017 to 2019, the charter public school was in the top 10% of all public schools in the state on Asian student growth in ELA and in the top 20% in Math.

Yav Pem Suab Academy (K-6), Sacramento
AAPI student population: Hmong, Mien, Lao
The school was founded 14 years ago in response to historically low academic achievement among Hmong students in the region. Now, most English-proficient Hmong students are meeting ELA and math standards at the school. Students also access Hmong language development and culture courses, leveraging three full-time Hmong language teachers.

The O’Farrell Charter School (K-12), San Diego 
AAPI student population: Filipino, Lao
This K-12 charter public school provides a multicultural, linguistically, and racially diverse learning environment. O’Farrell Charter had a 74% Advanced Placement (AP) participation rate, a 100% a-g completion rate, and a 99% graduation rate in 2020-21.

For additional media inquiries about CCSA’s AAPI research brief or to schedule interviews with AAPI charter school students, parents or educators, please contact Ana Tintocalis, CCSA Senior Director of Media Relations/Editorial Content Strategy,