Tag Archives: education

The Tale of Two Reports

I spent a couple of hours today searching for current data on Latino educational attainment and outcomes, specifically in the area of post-secondary education. I was a bit frustrated. Reports were either incomplete or dated.

Finally, I was able to find two good reports, both published this year, which provided detailed analysis. One report was from Department of Education’s (DOE) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) entitled Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2017. This is a comprehensive report outlining the progress and challenges faced by different racial and ethnic groups.   The second report was from the American Council on Education’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS) entitled Pulling Back the Curtain: Enrollment and Outcomes at Minority Serving Institutions. This report was also a comprehensive examination of educational data but focused on minority serving institutions in the United States.

Frankly, I was left a bit disheartened after reviewing the NCES report. Latinos are indeed making strides. For example, Latinos doubled the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded between 2003-04 and 2013-2014. Yet, Latinos still lag well behind other racial and ethnic groups in regards to overall post-secondary attainment. Expecting the same results, I turned my attention to the CPRS report and was pleased, but puzzled, to read this:

The completion rate for exclusively full-time students at public two-year Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) was 40.3 percent using NSC data, compared to the federal graduation rate of 25.5 percent. The NSC total completion rate for public four-year HSIs was approximately 50 percent and 74.1 percent for exclusively full-time students, compared to a federal graduation rate of 42.7 percent.

Why the difference?

As compared to the NCES report, CPRS “aimed to paint a more complete” attainment and outcome picture by using data beyond that collected by the DOEcation. Another key difference between the reports is this:

As the NSC data show, the majority of students at HSIs do not attend college exclusively full time, which is significant since higher education policy is still largely rooted in the notion of a “traditional” student body that among other attributes attends college full time.

In other words, DOE education attainment reports factor in ALL educational institutions, post-secondary in this case. This is no fault of the DOE but does shed light on my initial gloomy reaction. These two reports also underscore the need to present information in a way that reveals a clearer picture of educational attainment by Latinos in the United States.

How Many Will Get In?

The University of California system received a record number of freshman applications – over a third were Latinos:

First-time freshman applications to Cal State increased to 552,642 from 526,798, while transfer applications increased to 238,258 from 234,659.

At UC, Latinos, who make up the largest group of public school students in the state, increased their share of California freshman applications to 34.1% from 32.7% last year. The share of applications from African Americans rose to 6.1% from 5.9%.

“The data show that the University of California continues to draw unprecedented numbers of top-notch students eager to learn and contribute,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

It was only last year that more Latinos than whites were admitted into the UC system.

Better But Not Great

Graphic via fivethirtyeight.com

FiveThirtyEight examines the latest outcomes from the National Assessment of Educational Progress – aka the country’s “report card.”  The assessment measures overall academic improvement in areas such as Math and Reading. Overall, the data seems positive for Latinos and African-American students, however, there are still significant achievement gaps in the data, particularly for the long-term workforce:

“When we look at achievement gaps, it’s really important to look at how those gaps are closing. We want to see all groups getting better,” said Allison Horowitz, a policy analyst at Education Trust, a think tank. “But we want to make sure that students who are low income or of color, who are too often at the bottom of the achievement gap, we want to see them closing that gap by increasing faster than their white or affluent counterparts.”

“This question gets raised in the labor market in terms of wages all the time,” Goldhaber said. “Do you care about whether your wage is going up year over year, or do you care where you stand relative to other people? And I think it’s not an either/or: We care about both. And the degree to which somebody cares about one versus the other depends on the person.”

 

Non-Traditional Needs

As an educator for the last 13 years, I’ve seen the student demographic and socio-economic changes first hand. What hasn’t changed is how traditional higher education is serving the 21st Century non-traditional student:

Higher education has been slow to catch up to this new reality – to the detriment of thousands of students. The ways we provide instruction, finance education, market the college experience, and measure student learning still look much like they did years ago. And as we cling to outdated models, thousands of the college students in this new demographic are dropping out and sinking into debt at higher-than-average rates.

Recent reports, including one released last month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), highlight this pressing problem. The IWPR report shows that a quarter of those in college today– 4.8 million students – are raising dependent children, and more than half of those students are single parents.

Yesterday’s announcement by President Obama proposing two free years of community college for students is a positive first step, IF it can’t get through Congress.

Latino Market Growth and Opportunities

Jose Villa at the Engage Hispanics blog outlines eight trends impacting the Latino market in 2015 and beyond. An interesting list that shouldn’t be too surprising given the demographic, economic, and political changes we’ve seen over the last decade in the Latino population. Two of the eight trends focus on education, highlighting the increased representation of U.S. Latinos in “non-traditional” regions.

According to the Pew Research Center, there are 17 states where Latino children comprise at least 20% of the public school kindergarten population. Today’s kindergartners offer a glimpse of tomorrow’s demographics – indicating a much more Hispanic population in states like Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho. In states like California and Texas, Hispanics represent the majority of kindergartners.

Educating the Future

The Latino talent “pipeline” begins with education.

And as more Latinos enter colleges and universities, many in higher education still aren’t ready to manage the growth of Latinos on their campuses, including how to graduate them in higher numbers.

The Chronicle examines Latino demographic shifts and warns schools to pay attention:

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, The Chronicle examined by state and county the population from age 18, or zero years from traditional college age, down to age 4, or 14 years away. Younger age groups are strikingly smaller in New England, as in Rockingham County, N.H., where 18-year-olds number almost 4,500 and 4-year-olds just 2,600, a difference of more than 40 percent. With fewer young white children in almost every state, many counties’ younger age groups would be vastly smaller if not for much larger numbers of Hispanic children.

CollegeGrowth

Is it Just a Piece of Paper?

Michael Staton writes that the value of a college degree (the actual diploma) will lose much of its value in the coming years.  Due to the onset of technology, certifications, and online learning, he sees an unbundling of higher education.

The value of paper degrees will inevitably decline when employers or other evaluators avail themselves of more efficient and holistic ways for applicants to demonstrate aptitude and skill.  Evaluative information like work samples, personal representations, peer and manager reviews, shared content, and scores and badges are creating new signals of aptitude and different types of credentials.

For my experience as a nontraditional student, recruitment manager, and an instructor, I can appreciate his point.  As a college student, I arrived to the classroom with almost seven years of work experience.  While I didn’t have any certifications or badges, I did arrive with many of the competencies usually developed over four years of college.  My academic credentials were spotty at that point, but my ability to understand real world concepts was far beyond that of my peers who had just entered college.  Once I graduated with my four year degree, I was at a decided advantage when it came to soft skills — work ethic, office politics, and time management.  One of the best compliments I received was from a manager at my first “real job” who thought I had been with the organization for many years.  He was shocked when he learned I was there only a few months.

I see the same situation and many of the same types of students in my classrooms, particularly those in the military.  Given their experiences and backgrounds, military students are able to grasp leadership concepts much faster than those that have minimal work experience.

The Educational & Earnings Divide

This is a great piece by The Atlantic regarding race, gender, and the workforce.  An interesting comparison of participation rate of Latinos, women, and other demographic groups. The disparities among Latinos and African Americans can still be attributed to one underlying issue, education:

Blacks and Hispanics, who make up about one-quarter of the workforce, represent 44 percent of the country’s high school dropouts and just 15 percent of its bachelor’s earners. Until we can close the difference between those numbers, it’s unlikely that the workforce’s unyielding racial stratification will improve.

Graphic via The Atlantic