Advocacy &
We lead the effort to understand & improve South Asian American students’ experiences.

Learn MoreAbout Our Mission

Many South Asian Americans report not feeling connected to school, not feeling as supported by teachers as they needed to be, and not having ideal experiences as students. And many report that their teachers did not understand them or their backgrounds, and seemed to believe the “model minority stereotype.” We aim to improve South Asian American students’ experiences, in K-12 and beyond, through research into students’ experiences, outreach efforts to spread awareness and build buy-in, and promoting teacher cultural proficiency by sharing information with teachers, and working with school districts to offer professional development.


We lead the effort to improve South Asian American students’ experiences by disseminating findings, sharing resources, and building relationships.


We are at the forefront of conducting research to better understand and support and improve South Asian American students’ experiences.


We develop resources and services for educators, work closely with school systems, and distribute information to improve cultural proficiency.


We lead the effort to improve South Asian American students’ experiences through outreach, disseminating data, and building partnerships.

While teachers all over the nation receive cultural proficiency training, research finds…
70% of South Asian Americans felt teachers could have better supported their needs in school.

See The Data

Dr. Rice’s Study on South Asian American K-12 ExperiencesSee the findings.

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Dr. Punita Chhabra Rice’s study, conducted through Johns Hopkins University School of Education, examines the K-12 experiences of South Asian Americans in U.S. schools through a multi-phase, mixed-methods approach.

The study’s primary component is a survey of South Asian Americans (n=85) reflecting on their perceptions of K-12 experiences. The survey includes quantitative as well as constructed response components. The study also includes an exploratory survey of teachers, and a group interview.

Selected results from the study are included in a report in order to outline the experiences of South Asian American students, particularly as impacted by teachers’ low cultural competence. The key findings suggest that ultimately, there is room for improving South Asian American students’ experiences.

The primary findings of the study ultimately suggest that (1) South Asian American students’ experiences in schools are not ideal, and they may not feel highly connected to schools, (2) South Asian American students may not receive sufficient support (academic, executive functioning, or socioemotional) from teachers, and (3) teacher cultural proficiency related to these students could be improved.
The “model minority myth” is misguided and misleading, and is a false stereotype (Leong, Chao, & Hardin, 2000). Even if we ignore the implications of a teacher engaging in stereotyping about students, and ignore what belief in the stereotype says about the teachers’ general cultural proficiency or multicultural education readiness, the model minority myth is still harmful. It hurts Asian American students, whether they are low-achieving or high-achieving, and creates divides between these students and others. It may also lead teachers to provide less support to their Asian American students, as they may believe the students need less support than they actually do.

It may also result in teachers assuming South Asian American students are more intelligent, or mature than peers of other groups. In addition to contributing to intergroup conflicts, this can also result in less support given to South Asian American students — academic, and socioemotional.

However, most (77.7%) South Asian American participants in Dr. Rice’s study felt teachers believed the model minority stereotype, and seemed to assume that they, and individuals like them, were smarter than peers from other cultural groups. Further, most (70.6%) participants felt teachers could have better supported them or their academic needs.

However, participants reported wanting support in areas such as: individual help, review, chunking of instructions, check-ins on progress, time management skills support, organization support, and reminders. In many such cases, teachers did not provide supports to South Asian American students.

Findings also suggest South Asian Americans may not have felt very connected to school, and may not have had ideal K-12 experiences. This last point is significant, as it was supported by many constructed responses describing instances of microaggressions, insensitive remarks by teachers, and even racism and bullying from peers.
Most (72.9%) participants indicated teachers did not understand their backgrounds or identities.

Additionally, most (81.2%) felt teachers knew less about them than about their peers.

Learn about ourKey Initiatives.

TCPI – Our Teacher Cultural Proficiency Initiative is aimed at improving teacher cultural competence related to South Asian American students, as part of an effort to help teachers on their cultural proficiency journeys. It is part of our larger effort to improve South Asian American students’ overall experiences. Read more.
Diversity & Representation Initiative – Our Diversity & Representation Initiative aims to share diverse stories and representations of South Asian American cultures, experiences, and voices. Through this initiative, we hope to elevate the people and platforms that highlight and celebrate this diversity. Read More.
FOI – Our Family Outreach Initiative aims to support South Asian American students and their families in all things related to the K-12 experience through advocacy, support, and championing our cause in schools and communities. We are also developing resources and tools to offer directly to families. Read more.

Learn about ourPartnerships

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Education Organizations

We work closely with and school systems to share resources and develop strategies for improving student experiences. Click here to learn More.

Community Organizations

We connect with community organizations and South Asian focused organizations to collaborate and maximize outreach. Click here to learn more.


Our story

Read the story of how ISAASE began...

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Become a sponsor

All costs incurred in running and maintaining ISAASE, developing resources, or presenting findings, is currently self-funded by its volunteers. You can visit our Patreon page to become a sponsor, or contact us directly if you can extend support in helping us secure further funding.

Dr. Punita Rice

Founder & Director

Dr. Punita Chhabra Rice is the founder and director of ISAASE, and is an education researcher and writer based in Maryland. Her work focuses on multicultural education and equity, and South Asian American experiences in school. Learn more at

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