Filipino American Educational Leaders in Northern California K-12 Public Schools: Challenges and Opportunities

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Rapaido, Cynthia Manalo
administration; challenges and opportunities; educational leaders; Filipino; Filipino American; K-12 public schools; Asian American Studies; Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education; Education
thesis / dissertation description
The assumption that all Asians are model minorities is incorrect. The largest group of Asian American people is comprised of Filipino people followed closely by Chinese people; although Filipino people comprise the largest population, they lag behind Chinese and other Asian American groups with respect to academic achievement. Hence, Filipino American people are underrepresented as educational leaders in K–12 public schools in California.Compared to other Asian ethnic groups, Filipino American people have (a) a lower achievement level for academic success, (b) a lower percentage enrolled in college in the United States, (c) a lower percentage 25–29 years of age graduating with bachelor’s degrees or higher in the United States, and (d) a lower percentage graduating with bachelor’s degrees or higher from California universities. Also, Filipino American people have (a) a lower percentage of their population compared to other racial groups pursuing and receiving degrees in education in California, (b) one of the highest rates of suicide ideation, and (c) one of the highest dropout rates in the United States and in California.A narrative, qualitative research approach was used for this study, involving one-on-one interviews with 6 selected participants. The findings revealed personal (family obligations, academic identity, and ethnic identity) and professional (culture shock, cultural-value clashes, marginalization, lack of role models, commitments and demands as educational leaders, and conflict with upper management) challenges encountered, the factors that influenced career paths, and the factors that influenced motivation, perseverance, and the development of Filipino American educational leaders. Factors that influenced participants’ career paths were parental expectation, a low opinion of educational careers, and lack of support and encouragement. Factors that influenced the motivation, perseverance, and development of Filipino American leaders in higher education and in educational leadership were faith and religion; family encouragement and support; school involvement; support from professional or cultural organizations and from academic programs; positive attitude, and being proactive and adaptable; and motivation and interest in the development of Filipino American educators.This research yielded recommendations for professional practice including the need to develop culturally competent educators, educational leaders, and policymakers.