Research and video by the UCLA Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, commissioned by the Eva Longoria Foundation
The UCLA Civil Rights Project (CRP) conducted a study in 2013 to examine the existing knowledge base about promoting Latina educational success, defined as completing high school and then going on to secure a college degree.
Across the nation, there is a rising crisis in the low education levels of Latino youth. While nearly 35% of white adults hold a BA degree or higher, only 15% of adult Latinos do. The situation is even worse in California, the state with the largest number of Latinos, where only about 11% of adult Latinas/os hold a BA degree or higher. Given that the majority of the school age population in California is now Latina/o, this under-education is not just an urgent educational problem, but it foreshadows an economic issue for California, and the nation.
Although Latinas complete college at almost twice the rate as their male counterparts, they trail all other women by significant percentages. Two-thirds of Latinas come from low-income families, and many people continue to hold negative stereotypes about Latinas. These factors manifest unique challenges for these young women: they are often expected to prioritize family responsibilities above school; they often feel that they “don’t belong” in school, a feeling that can be reinforced by discrimination and low expectations; they see few models of Latinas who have excelled educationally that they can emulate, and too many lack any understanding of how or even why to pursue a college education.
The Civil Rights Project found a number of important “levers” for improving educational outcomes:
Having more Latina/o teachers leads to significantly higher rates of college going for Latinas
Maintaining bilingual skills is associated with a higher rate of high school completion and college going
Feeling confident about math, and doing well in it, leads to higher rates of high school completion and college going
Being involved in extracurricular activities in school is associated with successful high school graduation and college going, and also appears to be related to developing a sense of belonging in school
Having a strong personal belief about completing high school and going to college predicts actually doing so
Having Peers with the knowledge and aspirations to go to college is associated with college-going
Sometimes, all it takes is an honest conversation to be reminded of the power and courage of so many of our country’s students. Earlier this month, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics convened 10 Hispanic young men from the Denver area to sit down with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver President Stephen Jordan, and a few other guests, to have just that – an honest conversation.
The roundtable was held at MSU Denver. The young men were students at MSU Denver or at area high schools, and they shared stories about their lives, the challenges they have faced and overcome, the supports that have helped them through, and the things they believe need to be changed or improved to help more Hispanics and other young men of color succeed.
Many of the high school students are regular participants in activities with Padres y Jovenes Unidos, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve educational equity for Denver students. They shared their experiences around issues like school discipline and need for mentorships. In the video below, you’ll see that the conversation was powerful and moving. It provided insight into how we as a society need to support all people, including boys and young men of color, and reminded us of the potential that exists in them.
Marco Davis is the Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
In all the years that I’ve been advocating for economically disadvantaged students, I’ve never seen a time when so many forces seem to be aligning in our favor. First, on Feb. 25, Child Trends released a groundbreaking report that laid out a solid evidentiary base for Integrated Student Supports (ISS). And then, barely a month later, the White House waded into the same waters with its first-ever national summit on ISS.
A report plus a meeting? That might sound like just another day at the office, but this particular report and this particular meeting are anything but business as usual in the battle for educational equality. I’ve already written about the significance of the Child Trends report, and now, given a few days to digest the proceedings at the White House summit, I’m convinced that we will one day look back on this event as the prototypical “quiet meeting in a church basement” where a social movement is born.
The President recently launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to build ladders of opportunity for all youth, including boys and young men of color. The effort aims to improve measurably the expected educational and life outcomes for youth and address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color, including Hispanics. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (Initiative) is working to advance the goals of My Brother’s Keeper for the Hispanic community. To carry out its mission, in January the Initiative convened a roundtable discussion with a group of academics, researchers, practitioners, funders, and thought leaders whose work addresses issues Latino males face.
In the Initiative’s initial research – confirmed by the dialogue at the roundtable, something became clear; there is a lack of sufficient exploration of this issue for the Hispanic population. The amount of data collection and analysis, of scholarship, of resources invested, and of general public awareness about the situation of Hispanic boys and young men needs to increase, to remove barriers that prevent young Latino males from contributing fully to their communities and society.
Yesterday, the President announced a new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper”, which is focused on advancing opportunity for young men of color and making sure that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to get ahead.” The initiative will focus on implementing strategies that are proven to get results, particularly at key transition or impact points, like beginning school ready to learn and reducing negative interactions with the criminal justice system. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics has been working in support of this initiative, with a particular focus on improving academic and other outcomes for young Latino males, and will continue to engage the Hispanic community to advance the President’s goals. To that end, the Initiative recently organized a meeting for academics, researchers, funders and thought leaders to discuss young Latino males, the issues they face, and the potential they hold for America.
“As a group, young Latino males make up the greatest untapped economic resource in the U.S. today.”
It’s “Latino Week of Action,” and a time to make sure all of our Latino students and families are enrolled and covered by health insurance. This week represents the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continuing efforts to engage the Latino community to #GetCovered or #Asegurate under the Affordable Care Act.
Across the country, community organizations have joined local, state and federal government partners to convene health care enrollment events, partnering with Spanish language media to offer personalized enrollment assistance and to encourage Latinos to sign up for quality and affordable health coverage.
The Latino Week of Action will increase outreach efforts to educate Latinos across the country about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and to let them know how affordable quality health insurance is if they enroll in the health insurance Marketplaces.
On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). This was in response to the worst economic crisis in the U.S. since the Great Depression. At the time, private employers had cut almost 4 million jobs and trillions in dollars in household wealth had been wiped out.
Last November, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to the sophomore class at Bell Multicultural High School, in Washington, D.C. about the importance of higher education. In her remarks, Mrs. Obama talked about how education has created opportunity in her own life, working hard to attend and graduate from college.
Like the First Lady, many Latinos are also the first in their family to go to college. The whole process; from applying to college, to finding ways to pay for it, to navigating a college campus, can be overwhelming, as it was for the First Lady.
Yesterday, the White House released a special video message from the First Lady in which she talks about being the first in her family to attend college. This video is part of the “I’m First” storytelling project, which lifts up the stories of first generation college students in order to inspire future generations.
As the First Lady says in her video, “no matter where you come from or how much money your family has, I want you to know that you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build an incredible life for yourself.”
Today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and the training to make the most of it, and empowers students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.
Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet fewer than 30% of America’s schools have the broadband they need to connect to today’s technology. Under ConnectED, however, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.
Last night, we held our first Twitter Chat following the President’s State of the Union (SOTU) Address. This year more than ever, we were able to watch the address across different platforms, and engage in activities before, during and after. We wanted to hear from you. What did the State of the Union say about education? What does that mean for the Hispanic community? What are other education-related issues important and relevant to you? We were thrilled with the questions and comments we received during our one hour session.
Folks from Arizona raised questions about college completion and wanted to learn more about how the Obama administration is supporting postsecondary completion for Hispanics. Others applauded and appreciated the significance of Latino students, including one ELL student, who joined the First Lady during the SOTU. We were too.