PhD student Jean Park presents research at Wellesley | History and Education | Arts and Humanities

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History & Education

In the Department of Arts & Humanities

PhD student Jean Park presents research at Wellesley

On March 31, Jean Park presented "Cramming It In: Origins and Impact of Korean-American Cram Schools," at Wellesley College at the invitation of historian of education Prof. Barbara Beatty. The talk provided a historical overview of Korean immigration to the U.S. in the 20th century, focusing on the ethnic enclaves emerging in the New York metropolitan area in the post-1965 period, and the immigrants' agency in supplementing their children's education with the Korean cram school, also known as a hakwon. By highlighting the efforts made to seek and obtain supplemental schooling, "cultural" explanations for academic achievement and success become far more tenuous when confronted with a structural account: Korean immigrant parents structured an academic environment conducive to their children's success by enrolling their children in a near-parallel, tuition-based tutoring system that not only provided advanced coursework, but also extensive test preparation for the specialized public high schools in New York and New Jersey. Rather than relying on cultural accounts of achievement and merit, "Cramming It In" challenges the "model minority" myth by looking at how educational institutions worked within the Korean-American communities in the NYC region, and examines their broader significance on contemporary debates on standardized testing, the achievement gap, and race. 

After her presentation, students and faculty members in attendance asked great questions, and shared their own experiences attending schools in the US, on the East Coast, abroad, in rural areas and cities.

Published Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2016

PhD student Jean Park presents research at Wellesley

On March 31, Jean Park presented "Cramming It In: Origins and Impact of Korean-American Cram Schools," at Wellesley College at the invitation of historian of education Prof. Barbara Beatty. The talk provided a historical overview of Korean immigration to the U.S. in the 20th century, focusing on the ethnic enclaves emerging in the New York metropolitan area in the post-1965 period, and the immigrants' agency in supplementing their children's education with the Korean cram school, also known as a hakwon. By highlighting the efforts made to seek and obtain supplemental schooling, "cultural" explanations for academic achievement and success become far more tenuous when confronted with a structural account: Korean immigrant parents structured an academic environment conducive to their children's success by enrolling their children in a near-parallel, tuition-based tutoring system that not only provided advanced coursework, but also extensive test preparation for the specialized public high schools in New York and New Jersey. Rather than relying on cultural accounts of achievement and merit, "Cramming It In" challenges the "model minority" myth by looking at how educational institutions worked within the Korean-American communities in the NYC region, and examines their broader significance on contemporary debates on standardized testing, the achievement gap, and race. 

After her presentation, students and faculty members in attendance asked great questions, and shared their own experiences attending schools in the US, on the East Coast, abroad, in rural areas and cities.

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