Impact of Hmong in the Era of School Choice: The Hmong in Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Charter School Movement
Hoehn, Anthony N.
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In 1975, after the US withdrew its troops from Vietnam, the Hmong in Laos who had supported the US fight against the Communist party of Laos, found themselves, yet again, in a struggle to find a new homeland. After the Vietnam War, a significant number of Hmong found refuge in St. Paul, Minnesota, a frigid climate that contrasted the hot and humid weather of Laos. In their new place of residence, the Hmong encountered the US education system and were quick to utilize the opportunity for a free education, something that they did not have access to in Laos. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, the public schools were not adequately equipped to assist the new refugee hopefuls. At the same time, charter schools, a “revolutionary” movement of choice in public education, became the new rhetoric that people thought would revitalize the US’s failing education system. The charter schools that opened in the 1990s and early 2000s attracted the Hmong community of St. Paul. The Hmong enjoyed the parent-teacher-student relationship that choice theory advocated, therefore, the Hmong community engaged in collective action to strengthen the education of their children and ensure they equipped the future generation with Hmong values along with the ability to succeed in their new host country.
Series: USGZE AS333