Monthly Archives: November 2011

Latinos and the STEM Challenge

Forbes highlights the good work being done by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) in moving Latinos toward STEM careers. The article makes a key point:

As Americans seem to be eschewing key white-collar STEM jobs too, now comes the next and most important chapter of the Hispanic immigration experience in America: how to move en masse from low-paying but steady work as America’s default blue collar labor force to the leaders of the STEM education revolution that must happen if this nation is to maintain its top-tier economic status.

Good thoughts.

I’ve written about some of the challenges associated with reaching this goal, here, here, and here.

Diversity of Thought

Maria Martinlolich at College Diversity enlightens us about the importance of women on college campuses:

When you saw the title of this post, I hope you weren’t thinking that this post is all about feminism. That’s the one mistake people make in regards to learning about women in college; people have the impression that people who major in women’s studies or want to learn more about women are die-hard stereotypical feminists.

Maria is right. It’s more.

A refreshing perspective from a college student when you consider some colleges are attempting to discontinue ethnic study programs.



Latinos and Education: Realty and Challenges

Council of the Great City Schools just released a study which outlines the many challenges facing Latinos educationally. Latinos lag behind Whites in most areas of education including college attainment:

In postsecondary experience, the unemployment rate of the Hispanic population ages 20 and older in early 2011 was 12 percent compared with 8 percent of the white population. In 2009, some 13 percent of Hispanic students ages 18 and older had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 33 percent of white students. And the Hispanic population ages 18 and over in 2008 accounted for 12 percent of the college population and 16 percent of the nation’s prison population.

The ‘Long tail’ of Inequality

The Economist digs into why women still haven’t reached the professional success of men – in all aspects of the organizational workplace:

And despite sheaves of equal-pay legislation, women get paid less than men for comparable work. That is partly because they often work in different fields, and many of them are part-timers with lower hourly rates. But even in identical jobs they earn slightly less than men from the beginning, and as time goes by the gap gets ever bigger. Across the OECD it now averages 18%. That is a lot less than what it was 40 years ago (see chart), but in recent years it has stopped narrowing.

Despite generational gains by women and people of color, the organizational “head start” realized by men, even in comparable careers, increases cumulatively over time.

Graphic via The Economist

College Loan Defaults: It’s EVERYONE’s Issue

Mariko Chang at The Hill argues that college students will be challenged to pay off student debt, especially for Latinos and African Americans graduates.

The odds of paying off college debt are much tougher for minority graduates, particularly Black men, who face far higher unemployment than their White counterparts. More than 25 percent of Black men younger than 24 with college degrees were unemployed last year, about the same rate as young Black men who were college dropouts.

Black and Hispanic students also graduate with higher debt, including more than half who graduate with unmanageable debt.  Black college graduates are nearly twice as likely as Whites to owe $30,500 or more, according to the College Board.

Chang discusses how for-profit colleges “target” minority students – many of which default on student loans; however, traditional colleges have the same issue. They’re all in the same boat and for-profits shouldn’t be singled out. Have you noted the rise in state college tuition lately?

Moreover, minorities are attracted to for-profits because traditional colleges have yet to provide the same level of access and flexibility these students need.

Does Income Equate to Opportunity?

This is a great study by Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis regarding academic achievement and family income. The results shed additional light on the impact of parental income and student achievement. Interesting stuff.

Finally, the growing income achievement gap does not appear to be a result of a growing achievement gap between children with highly and less-educated parents. Indeed, the relationship between parental education and children’s achievement has remained relatively stable during the last fifty years, whereas the relationship between income and achievement has grown sharply. Family income is now nearly as strong as parental education in predicting children’s achievement.

MBA Recruitment: Shift happens

College grads hoping to make it to Wall Street as consultants are facing the realities of the current economy:

Several large firms are not recruiting new entry-level analysts for their investment banking divisions this fall, having filled their entire incoming class with last summer’s interns. At the University of Pennsylvania, whose Wharton School is the closest thing that exists to a Wall Street farm team, Goldman Sachs canceled its informational session.

Having done MBA recruiting in my career, filling annual college recruitment needs usually involved a two prong (and expensive) approach: Summer interns and on-campus recruiting. On campus recruitment usually included a lot of activities during the year prior to setting foot on-campus: lunches, case study competitions, dinners, career fairs, etc. A big investment of time and company resources which did not guarantee results. The fact that companies are cancelling activities such as information sessions and focusing on internships is a true shift in strategy.

Creating Culturally Intelligent Teachers

Cultural training for teachers? A good idea given the socio-economic differences between students and teachers in many urban areas around the country:

Cultural competency” training is designed to give teachers techniques and strategies that can help them not only reach minority students but also capitalize on cultural diversity in the classroom. At its core, cultural competency is about understanding differences and the role those differences play in how best to teach children.