Thursday, February 24, 2005

Racial differences in graduation rates

There is a significant gap in college graduation rates between blacks and Latinos born in California versus whites and Asian-Americans:

The study, released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, found that only 13 percent of Latinos, 15 percent of blacks and 11 percent of American Indians had earned a bachelor's degree. That compared with rates of 31 percent for whites and 62 percent for Asian-Americans, based on 2000 Census data.

Here are the findings in more detail:

The report found the percentage of California-born young adults earning bachelor's degrees went up in the '90s. Asian-American graduation rates increased from 53 percent to 62 percent and whites from 23 percent to 31 percent. The increase was lower for blacks, 11 percent to 15 percent, and Latinos, 10 percent to 13 percent.

Reed found gaps at every step of graduating from the University of California. Only 6.2 percent of black high school seniors and 6.5 percent of Hispanic seniors qualified for UC in 2002-03, compared to 16.2 percent of whites and 31.4 percent of Asian-Americans.

Hispanics make up one-third of the state's high school graduates, but only 12 percent of UC graduates, while blacks account for 7 percent of high school graduates but 3 percent of UC graduates.

Here are some of the possible causes of these differences:

For instance, black and Hispanic students were less likely to live with both parents, their mothers were less likely to have graduated from high school and their families more likely to be poor. Meanwhile, black and Hispanic children were more likely to attend bad schools.

Of course, one of the reasons why blacks and Hispanics are more likely to attend "bad schools" may be that schools are under pressure to improve their minority graduation rates and so end up watering down their curricula in order to achieve that objective.

Around the Blogosphere:

Study: Black , Hispanic College Graduation Rates Trailing

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