Why Indian American spelling bee success is more than just an endearing story

In one chapter, I explained why Indian Americans have come to dominate bees. I believe that their success has to do with a firm commitment by families to spend the time and money necessary to help their kids fully prepare. These children excel not just in spelling bees but also in geography, math and other academic competitions.

Most of my book addresses a more revealing question: why families care about such competitions and advanced academics in the first place and the implications around that. …

Pursuing after-school education to help their children eventually become more competitive college applicants makes sense to these immigrant parents given their own upbringing with similar tutoring. I think it’s only natural for parents to promote what they are most familiar with, and many of these parents have advanced degrees and grew up with intense academic expectations.

By Pawan Dhingra, Professor of Sociology, Amherst College

Read Article