Bill to Uncover Education and Health Disparities in the API Community Passes First Committee

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

AB 176 Requires Disaggregated Data for API Ethnic Subgroups

(Sacramento, CA) – Today Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that the Assembly Higher Education Committee passed his bill, AB 176, to uncover many of the social, economic, and educational disparities in the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community.

“The population of California is uniquely diverse, especially within the API community. There’s no place on the planet like it.” Bonta went on to name a few of the subgroups in the API population. “Hmong, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Tongan….There are more than 23 distinct communities within the Asian American population and 19 within the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population.”

Bonta explained that each of these API communities has different health and educational outcomes and needs.  “With respect to education and public health, the outcomes of some of the largest groups within the API population raise the average outcome of the greater API population as a whole.  So by relying on the aggregated data of the API community, California misses the needs of growing ethnic subpopulations. For example, although data related to the average API student demonstrates high academic achievements, disaggregated data sheds light on the harsh reality that Southeast Asian subgroups suffer from much lower achievement rates than other API groups.”

AB 176 would require the State Department of Public Health and the administration of the California Community Colleges, California State University, and the University of California to use specified categories for each major Asian and Pacific Islander group when they collect certain categories of demographic data. For example, the bill would require the collection of disaggregated data for graduation rates, completion, enrollment and admission for higher education. Bonta says the state will be better able to determine what the needs of each of the subgroups are based on the information to be collected.

Bonta concluded, “It’s critical that our policy leaders understand this diversity and are sensitive to the fact that APIs are not all the same. While we share some of the same challenges, such as language access issues, racial discrimination, and obstacles born of immigration, each of our diverse communities has different social, economic and educational outcomes that need to be addressed appropriately.”

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. Bonta Chairs the Assembly Health Committee; the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee; and the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. He is also a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services, Joint Legislative Budget, and Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.

CONTACT: Amy Alley (916) 319-2018