The invisibilization of Khmer and Southeast Asian communities poses harm to our collective community. At the same time, we are also working to address health disparities, food insecurity, inability to afford basic needs, rent insecurity, economic vulnerability, and violence against our most vulnerable elderly populations who are Asian/Southeast Asian Americans. The problem is a systemic and structural issue that spans centuries of invalidation, marginalization, and “othering” of Asian/Southeast Asian Americans.
We have seen a huge influx of hate and bias crimes, sentiments, and attitudes against Asian/Southeast Asian Americans in the past two years since the pinnacle of the Trump Administration’s failure to address the pandemic. So many of us have witnessed the deterioration of logic, rationale, and decency in American politics and civil society. When Trump termed COVID-19 the “kung flu” and the “China virus,” it led to an uptick of anti-Asian/Southeast Asian American hate and bias, primarily instigated by right-wing and hate groups.
What I am here to share with you is the harm that is caused by further alienating and hyper-marginalizing Southeast Asian Americans into terrorizing pandemic invisibility, and stories about what a few of our community coalitions and organizations have been working on to address this issue.
In this final article of a three-part series, Jasmine M. Pulido explores the future of programs for students designated highly capable in Seattle Public Schools.
The Future of Highly Capable Cohort: From HCC to HCS
Highly capable services are deemed part of basic education by state law, but the cohort is not.Starting in the 2022–2023 school year, the district’s Advanced Learning Department will begin a six-year plan to phase out the cohortmodel while gradually phasing in a new model. The recently amended changes to School Board Policy 2190, “Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs,” convert this accelerated curriculum cohort model (HCC) into an inclusive and accessible service model (Highly Capable Services or HCS) to meet the needs of students at their neighborhood school. In other words, SPS will no longer focus on searching for and separating “gifted students” from the general student population and will, instead, focus on having flexible services available to all students. HCS will still include an accelerated curriculum but can also include services like enriched learning opportunities, classroom pullouts for advanced content on a specific subject, and cluster groups depending on what best meets the individual student’s needs. In short, Highly Capable Cohort as a self-contained setting for advanced students will be completely dismantled and phased out.
In Washington State, we like to think we’re progressive, but I’m not convinced we know what that means. Washington State has some of the most backward, upside down systems in place that do an injustice to low-income folks and people of color: like our regressive tax code, over-policing students of colors in our schools, the ever-growing homeless population, and child hunger, to name a few.