PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require public schools to ask Asian students about their ethnicity so that student performance data doesn’t mask educational inequalities between Southeast Asians and other groups.
The state House of Representatives voted 65-5 to pass the bill on Wednesday, eliciting cheers from members of the Providence-based Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education. It now moves to the state Senate.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Grace Diaz, a Providence Democrat, tells the Providence Journal it could help concentrate resources on specific communities and also help give Southeast Asian youths pride in their own identities.
Rep. Michael Chippendale, a Foster Republican, called it an “unfunded mandate” and questioned why white students wouldn’t be asked to identify their European ethnicities.