Thursday, May 15, 2014

Who Gets to Graduate?

According to a New York Times article, it is the rich.  They get to graduate from college.

Those who are less likely to graduate are students from lower socioeconomic areas, less rigorous pre-college schools and whose parents are naive or inexperienced in what they need to do to help their child succeed.   According to the article, only about one quarter of  the students in the lower economic scale will graduate in 6 years.

Compare this with rich students - ninety percent graduate.  Yes, that is 90%.

So, where are we in understanding what we need to do for student success?  We have learned a lot in the last fifty plus years.  As affirmative action and civil rights slowly kicked in, we created an entire new culture of rich.  Rich people became a diverse group of ethnicity as minorities entered into high paying jobs,  per-college schools improved and colleges began actively targeting and nurturing  all smart students.

Ethnicity was once the culprit of preventing students from graduating.  However ethnicity also defined what a population was allowed to do.  We have made a great deal of progress since 1954.

We now realize that ethnicity has much less to do with success as we once perceived.  We can no longer point at a person of color or ethnicity and say they are poor or they have a special way of learning.  Eugenics is out; economics is in.  We can still see differences in ethnic groups, however this gap is closing as more and more make it into the rich category.

The major finding is that students who are rich are more likely to graduate than poor students.  We, as educators, are now able to act on something we can tackle.  Poverty and the lack of educational advantages it fosters.

Read the article, Who Gets to Graduate?,  about one Texas professor who successfully did the numbers and made a difference.

At UTB we have many success stories to share also.

We have fostered first generation, migrant workers, and students from the poorest area in the US and nurtured them on to graduate.

We need to communicate our successful methods to all faculty here and everywhere.

Written by Betsy Price, Director, CTL.