Those were the days…




Don’t you just love it when someone seriously asks for your help? (I do!)

I guess it’s been a year already since Nancy asked me for some assistance. She has a wonderful career doing distance learning teaching both English and Math.

Technology is wonderful. Nancy lives in Ireland, and she uses Skype to teach Chinese high school students in China. Some of them have already traveled to the United States and spend a year in our high schools.

One young man has submitted more than a dozen applications for college, including Columbia and U.C. Davis.

I got involved when Nancy asked me to write a few articles for her students. An entire Chinese class was visiting the Grand Canyon. I wrote the article, and she shared it with her class.

I wrote other articles for Chinese students who would visit New York. I’ve written a few arcane topics that might interest junior high school students such as fire ants in Arizona.

My most recent assistance is editing essays students submit for college applications.

The essay topics enlightened me. They range from personal insight to potential career aspirations. The essay content can summarize prior career path accomplishments.

That brings me to this article I wrote to Nancy last year:

How To Get Ahead In Life

get an A450

“Want to get an A in class?…. Don’t enroll if an Asian is there.”

That’s the advice I was given my freshman year in college.

The year was 1958. The place was Rochester, New York.  Even back then, there were plenty of Japanese and Chinese young adults living there.

And lots of them were applying for college.

Still… looking back, I was lucky.

That was before the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965. It was before our nation began seeing large numbers of Asian immigrants.

It was fairly easy to find out if any Asian students had signed up for the courses I was selecting.

Was I a racist?

Hell no. The reason was survival. I wanted the ‘A.’

You see… If the professor was known for only giving out a few ‘A’ grades… If there was an Asian student in the class… The Asian student would get the ‘A’ grade.

It had nothing to do with favoritism. It was all based on performance. Asian students just studied harder… or something. Whatever… they always had the highest scores and always got A grades.

Now, this was back in the 50’s, where there were much fewer Asian students going to college.

Today, because of the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, the Asian population is much higher. College kids face stiffer competition for ‘A’ grades.

Check out this chart:


The latest data from the Pew Research Center shows Asian men earned 117 percent as much as white men did.

Similarly, Asian women out-earned all other racial groups.

What’s their secret?

The Pew Research credited three factors:

~ Emphasis on education: “Educational attainment among Asian Americans is markedly higher than that of the U.S. population overall. Among those ages 25 and older, 49% hold at least a college degree, compared with 28% of the U.S. population overall.”

~ Emphasis on marriage and family: “(Asian) newborns are less likely than all U.S. newborns to have an unmarried mother (16% vs 41%); and their children are more likely than all U.S. children to be raised in a household with two married parents (80% vs 63%).”

~ Emphasis on work ethic: “Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) Asians say people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard.”

“The research failed to mention another factor that distinguishes Asians: most Asians do not share the ‘we versus them’ mentality. The majority of Asians do not demand that someone or some group be held responsible for their own happiness. Instead, they ask themselves, “What do I need to do to make my life better?” and then make it happen.”

2 thoughts on “Those were the days…

  1. josephlacey12

    The last paragraph was part of the quoted text….. not mine (but I agree with it)

    It’s a hard sell… the Chinese culture (and others…) push education extremely hard. I’m not impressed with the USA ‘education culture.’



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