My Twitter-loving friends have been abuzz about the recent Pew Hispanic Center Research report that announced 24% Growth in Hispanic College Enrollment from 2009 to 2010. Overall sentiment “It’s Not Enough.” My tweet on this topic: “It’s not enough by tens of 1000s & this is enrollment not graduation!”
Sorry if I’m not jumping for joy over this news (an uptick 2 years ago). It’s good news yes, a positive sign of moving in the right direction; 349,000 more Latino students enrolled in college that year versus the previous. The question is, how many of those students will actually graduate?
Why is my response tempered? Because I have the bigger picture in mind; I have the absolute (and shocking) numbers in mind, the number of college graduates we need to be graduating annually to ensure America’s global competitiveness (611,000) when we’re only graduating around 130,000. Here’s what I mean and the original sources.
Mentoring is urgently needed, by all types of Americans, to forcefully crack through the general culture of low educational expectations in the Latino community. I say ALL Americans because the report reminds us that in 2010, only 13% of Hispanic 25- to 29-year-olds had completed at least a bachelor’s degree (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011a).
The percentage of Hispanic high school graduates who are attending college is still only 44% for 2010, and that’s from a pool of high school students with high, double-digit dropout rates that vary across the nation (as high as 57% in some communities.) See page 4 of the report for the graphic depicting the percent of Asian students in the 18-24 age group enrolled in college (62.2%); compare that to the Hispanic number (31.9%) and the reasoning for my “low expectations” comment becomes obvious.
Only strong, forceful intervention in the form of mentoring, and in some cases hand-holding, will make a difference to many, many young Latino students who have absolutely no idea of their potential. Please take the “Two by 2020 Mentoring Challenge” and become part of the solution.