Although only 62% of Cambodian Americans currently graduate from high school, second generation Cambodian Americans are working to increase the rate of Cambodian teens who finish high school and attend college, reports KPCC
About 14% of Cambodian Americans complete a four-year college – although rates are higher (about 25%) among U.S. born Cambodian Americans. This is about half of the overall college graduation rate among Asian Americans.
Because the data for Cambodian Americans is usually combined within the larger Asian American category, it is difficult to obtain an accurate picture of the needs of the Cambodian American community. According to UC Riverside professor Karthick Ramakrishnan, the data is somewhat diluted, as an accurate representation of the Cambodian American community’s educational needs is hard to find.
“State education data lumps Cambodians into the general ‘Asian’ category, which can be misleading,” Ramakrishnan said.
The California Assembly’s has lately attempted to redress this “invisible gap” in education representation through its introduction of AB 176 which would require state educational systems to collect disaggregated data on the various Asian and Pacific Islander subgroups.
To read about Cambodian American community leaders who are striving to close the education gap and to see photos, go to KPCC.