Asian American Communities Reject Harvard’s Proposed Changes in College Admissions as “Wrong Solution to America’s Educational Problems”

By | February 1, 2016

For Immediate Release

January 31, 2016

Livingston, New Jersey: The Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) has issued a policy statement, rejecting the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s recent report “Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admission,” which proposed drastic changes in the college admission process across America. Though AACE welcomes some of these recommendations, such as de-emphasizing costly or high-profile extracurricular activities and broadening the definition of community engagement, overall Harvard’s proposed changes actually move in the wrong direction because they either fail to address or provide the wrong solutions to the education crises facing America. When America desperately needs to improve the quality of academic education, the report recommends making standardized tests optional and deemphasizing AP/IB classes, both of which are essential measurements of a student’s academic achievement and college readiness. In addition, the proposed changes deny diverse ways citizens can contribute to society and improperly overemphasize a narrowly-defined “ethical engagement” as a major criterion for college admission. Furthermore, while we support reduction of student stress, we are disappointed that the proposed changes fail to address the root causes: the inadequate academic education in K-8 education that poorly prepare students for high-school education, and discriminations against Asian-Americans by many American elite universities in college admissions that force Asian-American students to study much harder. If implemented, Harvard’s proposed changes will significantly reduce America’s educational competitiveness, harm the American high-tech industry, reduce the objectivity and fairness of the college admission process, and improperly emphasize a narrowly defined “ethical engagement” admission criterion that will suffocate creativity.

Mr. Yukong Zhao, the President of the Asian American Coalition for Education said, “In the 21th century, academic education is essential for American economic prosperity. American public schools have failed to educate sufficient numbers of home-grown scientists and engineers to support our high-tech industries. What America needs desperately is to improve educational quality, not to lower academic standard for college admissions. During the Cultural Revolution, China abolished academic requirements for college admission and even suggested that the qualification for admission to college should be calluses on the applicant’s hands, not test scores. China’s policy failed miserably. America should not follow this failing path! In addition, Asian Americans are deeply concerned of becoming victims of Harvard’s proposed changes because they will drastically increase the subjectivity and opacity of the college admission processes.”

Asian American Coalition for Education

AACE’s Policy Statement can be accessed at:

MEDIA CONTACTS: Yukong Zhao,, (407) 921-8452;
Chunyan Li,, (973) 641-9011.