With the 2012 Scripps Spelling Bee having taken place this week, this recent NPR story about how and why Indian-American students appear to dominate the annual bee is a fascinating read: “Indian-American spelling successes have also been fueled in recent years by the South Asian-only farm leagues that have popped up. Those tournaments act as a kind of breeding ground, where many Indian versions of the ‘tiger mom’ start their kids as young as 6 years old. Mahankali says it’s important to these immigrant parents that their kids excel academically. But they are especially eager to do well in English. ‘The immigrants want to prove that they belong to the mainstream,’ he says. They are very eager to show that they have “‘mastered the cornerstone of the culture here — the language.'”
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