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New report on Latino college achievement offers refreshingly honest analysis

The focus of this brief is to reconcile what we know with what we hear to inform what we can do to address the realities facing Latino students in a manner integrated into the broader policy agenda and discussions in higher education.

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Those three bold-typed phrases in the paragraph sums up what is usually wrong or missing in most institutional reports when it comes to the Latino community. It’s nice that someone is actually acknowledging the fact that “what we know” doesn’t always jive with “what we hear.”

When it comes to Latinos pursuing college degrees, the degree of unknown information can be staggering, given the complex demographics of the Latino population.

The latest report trying to shed light on Latinos’ educational goals actually does shine a little brighter than most reports because it has the advantage of reams of research over the last decade on who Latinos students are and how they have fared in pursuing higher education.

Taking Stock: Higher Education and Latinos, published through Excelencia in Education reveals a number of insights worth noting:

The general profile of Latinos in education emphasizes a minority of the population yet drives the majority of public policy for Latinos.

Elected officials seemed more focused on persistence in college while service providers were more focused on college access.

Students did not consider accountability measures such as graduation rates or college rankings as factors influencing their college choice.

Many Latino students valued higher education and balanced work and family responsibilities to get their education.

In short, this report is a refreshing analysis of the attitudes that have both helped and hindered success of the Latino community and offers honest assessments of who are today’s Latino students.

According to the report, program shortfalls in getting more Latino students interested in going and staying in college is due to the fact that officials aren’t working from the correct profile of Latino students.

Citing current data about Latinos puts the profile of Latinos in perspective. Clarifying this profile of Latinos does not imply the issues of immigration, language acquisition, and high school completion are not important or relevant policy issues. In fact, these are critical issues to address.

However, it is not accurate to characterize the majority of Latinos in education today by this limited profile and doing so can marginalize policy efforts to serve the population well.

Finally, a report that tells it like it is!



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