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and social contexts for framing Asian American experience. Third, the por- trayal of Asian Americans as model minorities has historically been used as a wedge between minorities by implying that if Asians can make it, then all minority groups should be able to achieve academically, as long as they uphold the values of education, hard work, and a nuclear family that Asians supposedly prize. This focus on individualism and meritocracy inherent in the model minority discourse buoys the culture-of-poverty argument that runs in tandem with it. As such, model minority discourse ignores critical struc- tural factors such as class, race, gender, and schooling resources that serve to contextualize Asian American students’ academic performance, while ig- noring those children who are living in poverty, failing or dropping out of high school, and facing downward mobility (Fong & Shinagawa, 2000; Hune & Chan, 2000; Hurh & Kim, 1984; Kiang & Kaplan, 1994; Lee, 1996; Lew, 2003a, 2004, in press; Louie, 2004; Pang & Cheng, 1998; Park, Lee, & Goodwin, 2003; Weinberg, 1997).

In order to address the limitations of the cultural argument, researchers have focused on important structural factors such as immigration history, economic context, and opportunity structure to explain Asian American achievement. For instance, it has been argued that selective migration of post- 1965 immigrants—namely, those entering under professional status—favored those who are coming with a higher education level and from higher socio- economic backgrounds. That is, Asian American children’s educational suc- cess can be largely attributed to those who are coming from Asian families who were middle-class professionals in their country of origin (Barringer, Gardner, & Levin, 1993; Hirschman & Wong, 1986). Researchers have also underscored ethnic economies and networks as important means for Asian Americans to achieve social mobility. Although ethnic economies have been historically formed as a result of racial and social barriers, as well as lack of access to the primary-sector-market economy, researchers argue that this avenue allows Asian immigrants to gain important economic and social re- sources for first- and second-generation immigrants (Hirschman & Wong, 1986; Light & Bonacich, 1988; Portes & Rumbaut, 1996, 2001). While high- lighting the structural and economic conditions into which the immigrant groups become situated, Portes and colleagues note the significance of strong co-ethnic networks and ethnic economies, which help promote social mo- bility for immigrants and their children. Particularly for those residing in poor and isolated urban communities, strong social capital in the form of entrepreneurship, local churches, and co-ethnic networks provides impor- tant economic and social resources for first-generation immigrants and their second-generation children. It is argued, therefore, that post-1965 Asian immigrants and their children are able to achieve in school and gain eco- nomic opportunities as a result of their ethnic economy and ties to immi- 

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