Report: California Schools Serving Socially Disadvantaged Students Send Too Few to College

The vast majority of California high schools that serve high numbers of low-income students and students of color do a poor job of sending their students on to college, a new report has found.

“The implications are pretty bad,” said Orville Jackson, senior research analyst at The Education Trust – West and lead author of the report, titled “Repairing the Pipeline: A Look at Gaps in California’s High School to College Transition.”

A major finding of the report is that college-going rates for African-American and Latino ninth-grade students lag behind the rates of White and Asian students by 20 to more than 30 percentage points. Fewer than half of such ninth-graders go to college upon graduation from high school or shortly thereafter, and the college-going rates for low-income students were just as low, the report found

“This is our population. It’s a growing population,” Jackson said of students of color in California. “We’re actually underserving the majority of our population in this state.”

Jackson said the situation portends trouble for the Golden State being able to meet its future workforce demands.

“We’re not preparing our students to meet our employment needs,” Jackson said. “So we’re going to have a workforce shortage.”

Jackson’s report compiled statistics that reveal what the report describes as a series of “breaks in the pipes.”

Those statistics include: … (Read more.)

Via Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

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‘Emerging Leaders,’ Mercy Education Project Program, Preps Young Girls For Future Success

From their home base on the second floor of the Commerce and Finance Building at University of Detroit Mercy, 33 sixth- to eighth-grade girls are learning the ins and outs of college life, exploring careers that might match their interests and personality, and seeing firsthand what real success and happiness looks like for educated women who have fulfilling, well-paying careers.

These young girls are part of Mercy Education Project’s Emerging Leaders program, a four-week program that runs for the entire month of July, helping girls who live in southwest Detroit learn about college and careers.

“Most of the girls in our program do not know people who have gone to college,” says Melanie Ward, director of the Girls’ Programs at Mercy Education Project and coordinator of Emerging Leaders.

She says that most of the girls have a lack of knowledge about college, how it can benefit them and what to expect. But after spending weeks on a college campus and visiting other campuses around the region, the fears quickly melt, and they become more knowledgeable about the choices they have.

“We visited a lot of colleges,” says Analisa Alvarez, 15, who attended the program last year. “It gave me a view that you can either go to a small college or to one that’s really big with a lot of people. It made me think about what kind of environment do I really want to be in. Do I want to be in small classrooms like I am today in high school or do I want to go to 200 or 400 student study halls?”

Before she attended the program, both she and her mother, Monica Alvarez, were mostly familiar with well-known state schools, like Michigan State University and University of Michigan. It was beneficial to them both to learn about other options, including Schoolcraft College, Eastern Michigan University, University of Detroit Mercy, and Oakland University. (Read more.)

Via Melinda Clynes, Huffington Post – Education.

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Report Examines Value of Certificates

Certificates pay off, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW). People with certificates earn, on average, 20 percent more than workers with only high school diplomas. They also can out-earn workers with two-year and four-year degrees.

Earnings tie back to choosing the right field of study and working in that field. A certificate holder working in computer/information services can earn 70 percent or more than people with just an associate degree, according to the report.

The payoff is contributing to the growing popularity of certificates, which are now the fastest-growing form of postsecondary credential in the United States. In 1980, certificates only constituted 6 percent of postsecondary awards. Now, they make up 22 percent.

Other factors contributing to that growth include affordability of programs and the fact that they usually take less than a year to complete.

On community college campuses, 40 percent of awards annually are certificates, but “the rewards to students and the nation aren’t often well-known,” said Christopher Mullin, program director for policy analysis at the American Association of Community Colleges.

Credentials are not usually counted in government surveys, but if they were, the country’s international ranking would move from 15th to 10th place, said the authors of the report.

“We’re happy to see this information come to light,” Mullin said.

Certificates aren’t for everyone, though, cautioned Anthony Carnevale, research professor, CEW director and lead author on the report.

“Certificates are the cutting edge for Hispanic educational and income gains, they provide big payoffs for men, but not for women, especially African-American women,” Carnevale said.

Along gender lines, male certificate holders earn 27 percent more than high school-educated men, but women with certificates only earn, on average, 16 percent more than high school-educated women. This could be due in part to the fields entered by men and women. While men often earn certificates in a range of areas such as construction, auto mechanics, electronics or heating and air conditioning, women tend to choose one of three lower-paying fields: health care, cosmetology or business and office management.

But certificates can be the first step to a college degree. The study found that 20 percent of certificate holders eventually earn a two-year degree, and 13 percent will earn a four-year degree.

Via Tabitha Whissemore, Community College Times or check out the Press Release.

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‘You didn’t graduate from high school? Start college today!’

A high-poverty, nearly all-minority district near the Texas-Mexico border, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo had a high dropout rate. Now dropouts and high-risk students are finishing high school while they start career training. All students can take rigorous “early college” courses and the college-going rate doubled in three years, according to a new report from Jobs for the Future.

Superintendent Daniel King came to PSJA from nearby Hidalgo, where he’d pioneered early college and career pathways for all students.  “The dropout rate was horrendous,” King said.  In partnership with South Texas College,  the district created the College, Career, and Technology Academy to help former dropouts complete high school and “seamlessly transition into college courses” when ready. The dropout recovery campaign’s slogan: “You didn’t graduate from high school? Start college today!” Now students who lack the credits to graduate on time can go to CCTA the summer or fall after their four-year graduation rate, instead of returning to high school for a fifth year or dropping out.

PSJA then opened an early college high school with a STEM focus, again partnering with South Texas College. PSJA will become an  Early College High School District, writes King on the JFF blog. Eventually, the college-going culture will start at the elementary level.

We have increased expectations for all students. Our goal is not just to hand out high school diplomas, but to see that our students have the skills they need to move onto college, obtain a college degree and have a prosperous life and career.

Through Early College coursework, students can graduate from high school with at least 12 college hours, a technical certificate, or even an Associate’s degree that prepares them for high-wage employment.

Virtually all PSJA students are Hispanic and 90 percent come from low-income families. Most parents are not well-educated.

Via Joanne Jacobs, Community College Spotlight.

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Among Minorities, a New Wave of ‘Disconnected Youth’

Men and women in their late teens and early 20s are struggling, but some are especially hard hit.

According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the unemployment rate last year among high-school dropouts between ages 16 and 24 was 29%—up from 17.7% in 2000 and seven points higher than that of their peers who finished high school but didn’t go on to college.

The problem is particularly acute among Hispanics and African-Americans. Several studies have found that only about 50% of black and Hispanic students graduate from high school, compared with 75% of white students.

Up to 40% of the young people in these communities qualify as “disconnected youth,” the term for young adults who are neither in school nor working, says David Dodson, president of MDC Inc., a research organization in Durham, N.C.

“They’ve given up hope,” says Phillip Jackson, executive director of Chicago’s Black Star Project, which helps African-American youth stay in school. He estimates that 75% to 80% of the young black men in Chicago are jobless. (Read more.)

Via Lauren Weber, Wall Street Journal

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