Chapter

The Ethnic System of Supplementary Education: Nonprofit and For-Profit Institutions in Los Angeles’ Chinese Immigrant Community

Min Zhou

in Toward Positive Youth Development

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780195327892
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199301478 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327892.003.0013
The Ethnic System of Supplementary Education: Nonprofit and For-Profit Institutions in Los Angeles’ Chinese Immigrant Community

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Informal social settings outside of school are as important as formal educational settings for children's learning and achievement. In the United States, informal settings are often organized by ethnicity and socioeconomic status in order to mediate the processes of individual learning, which consequently leads to intergroup differences in educational outcomes. This chapter examines how a particular type of informal social setting is created and structured by the ethnic community in order to generate resources for school success. By looking specifically into the non-profit and for-profit institutions serving young children and youth in Los Angeles' Chinese immigrant community, the chapter describes an ethnic system of supplementary education that not only offers tangible support but also reinforces cultural norms in pushing immigrant children to succeed in school. It is shown that the kind of informal social setting to which Chinese immigrant children are exposed is not necessarily intrinsic to a specific culture, but results from a national-origin group's migration selectivity, the strength of a pre-existing ethnic community, and the host society's reception. National-origin groups that constitute a significant middle class with valuable resources (i.e. education, job skills, and financial assets), upon arrival in the United States, have a leg-up in the race to move ahead in their new homeland, while others lacking group resources trail behind. Educators and policymakers should be careful not to attribute school success or failure merely to culture or to structure, but to the culture—structure interaction.

Keywords: Chinatown; Chinese Schools; afterschool tutoring; supplementary education; ethnic entrepreneurship; immigration

Chapter.  9758 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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