Inequality is perpetuated in sneaky, hidden, ways. We’ve moved past some of the more obvious forms of oppression — at least, on a good day — but more subtle practices and policies continue to have a big impact.
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A new report, which looked at minority-serving community colleges specifically, found some serious and hugely influential discrepancies. Let’s take a closer look.
Community colleges serve a higher number of minority students than other institutions, and that work is often parlayed into more professional growth opportunities for graduates. This new study found that 51 percent of Latino students who graduated with four-year STEM degrees started at a community college. The same is true for 44 percent of both American Indian/Alaska Native students and black students.
The degrees have a tremendous value to all of the students who work hard to earn them. Often, completion of these programs leads to other degrees down the road.
So, schools that serve populations that need support the most tend to offer less of it. These programs are proven to make a big difference for graduates, opening up professional options and opportunities that could not be gained otherwise. It’s not right that students who stand to gain the most from these institutions are forced to do so with less support than their more privileged counterparts.
During his January State of the Union address, President Obama announced his proposal to “make community college as free and universal and high school.”
Not surprisingly, this proposal is a tough sell to Republicans, who have offered fierce criticism of the idea since it was first rolled out.
But, an effort to protect, and even expand, the opportunity of a two-year degree is timely and increasingly pressing as we move forward into a world that requires more and more training for professional success, (maybe even survival). It turns out that attempts to mindfully level the playing field of opportunity for students are still quite necessary in 2015.
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