Tag Archives: education

NCLR Report Finds Latino Students are “Missing Out”

by Latoya Peterson

The National Council of La Raza has released a new report called “Missing Out: Latino Students in America’s Schools.”

The intro explains:

The rapid growth of the Latino student population has not been reflected in a corresponding improvement in their educational outcomes. The collection of statistics that follows suggests that Latino students are missing out on many educational opportunities and are not being effectively served by the current U.S. education system. One of the country’s most significant challenges in the coming years will be to improve the American educational system such that it adequately meets the needs of all children.

Moreover, a particularly urgent task is to ensure that our nation’s public schools and universities improve their capacity to adequately serve Latino students and ELLs [English language learners], given that this population will constitute nearly one-third (30%) of our total adult population by 2050. These statistics provide a summary of the key data on Latino students, from prekindergarten through postsecondary school. Understanding who these students are is critical to creating policies and programs that effectively address their unique position in America’s schools.

Some findings from the study:

  • There is a greater likelihood that White and Black three- to five-year-olds will be enrolled in center-based preschool education than their Hispanic counterparts, especially those living in poverty. During the 2005–2006 school year, 60% of White children and 62% of Black children participated in such programs, while only 50% of Hispanic children participated (see Figure 3). Furthermore, among Hispanic children ages three to five living in poverty, fewer than 36% were enrolled in early childhood care and education programs. In contrast, 45% of White and 65% of Black children of the same age group living below the federal poverty threshold* were enrolled in these programs.
  • Hispanics and Blacks are significantly less likely to complete high school than their White peers. Although the 2005 high school graduation rate for White students was 78%, only 58% of Hispanic students and 55% of Black students who entered ninth grade completed the twelfth grade and graduated with a regular high school diploma.
  • Latino and Black students are more likely to attend schools that serve a large concentration of low-income students. Among elementary and secondary school students during the 2005–2006 school year, 34% of Hispanic and 32% of Black students were enrolled in schools with the highest measure of poverty, compared to 4% of White and 10% of Asian/Pacific Islander students. Moreover, there is a strong relationship between poor and minority student populations. Hispanic (46%) and Black (44%) students composed the vast majority of students attending school in high-poverty urban areas, while fewer than 10% of their White peers attended such schools (see Figure 5*).
  • Hispanics and Blacks constitute only a small proportion of undergraduate students in the U.S. Latinos and Blacks compose a large percentage of the college-age population, at 17.4% and 14.1%, respectively. However, only 10.8% of all 2005 undergraduate students were Hispanic and only 12.7% were Black, while 65.7% of undergraduates were White (see Figure 6).

Go here to download the full report.

Denied kindergarten for being Native?

by Guest Contributor Jessica Yee, originally published at The Shameless Blog

This story actually made me cry.

Five year old Adriel Arocha is being blocked from attending school in a Houston-area school district.

The reason?

As an Apache, he has long hair that he has been growing in his Native cultural tradition that “violates” this school’s dress code rules.

The kicker though is that the school board is willing to make exceptions on religious or other “proven” moral grounds, but doesn’t think that being Native American cuts it. Continue reading

Mocking Black Names in Covina: How “Liberal” are Our Youth?

by Guest Contributor Joe R. Feagin, originally published at Racism Review

There seems to be no end to mocking of the language and speech of people of color by whites. A Los Angeles Times article recounts some mocking of the names of black high school students, likely from a white high school student:

Administrators at Charter Oak High School in Covina are investigating how a student on the yearbook staff was able to get fake names for Black Student Union members, including “Tay Tay Shaniqua,” “Crisphy Nanos” and “Laquan White,” into the published yearbook.

Beyond this hateful racist mocking there are deeper issues. Whites and some others do not seem to understand that many working-class and middle-class black parents provide their children with nontraditional first names to provide them with something special and distinctive–and not with the “white” first names that are commonplace in society. (Adia has made this point to me in discussion.) Such naming is often a type of resistance to whiteness and white folkways. Historically, whites have done a lot of mocking of the language and speech of all Americans of color–African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and others—and name mocking in the Covina case seems in this tradition of negative racial framing of Americans of color. Mock Spanish and mock Black English seem to be esp. popular these days, including on the Internet. There are many websites mocking the speech of other Americans of color. Whites often say such mocking is “just joking,” but as we have known since Freud, racist joking is often far more than joking. Continue reading

The Other N Word

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

The most provocative ideas seem to fly out of nowhere.

I was listening the community discussion of Jabari Asim’s new book The N-Word: Who Should Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why and I was enjoying the depth of conversation explored by the attendees. One woman, when recounting her experiences made an interesting and illuminating comment.

As a Caucasian woman raising a biracial child who identifies as black, she explained having a lengthy discussion with her child about his casual use of the N-word with his multicultural group of friends. The woman’s son informed her that the n-word was no longer a stigmatized term. What was worse, the son explained, was the “other N-word.”

Puzzled, I leaned forward in my seat. As I shivered in the aggressively air conditioned meeting room, I did a quick scan of my mental word bank to figure out another n-word. Nothing. The woman continued.

The other N-word was nerd.


The discussion continued to swirl around me, but that phrase stuck with me for the rest of the evening.

The following day, I attended my younger sister’s high school graduation. A graduate of Charles Herbert Flowers High School (focusing on the Science and Technology program) I am pleased to share that my younger sister graduated in the top 5% of her class.

However, she was outdone by both the class valedictorian and salutatorian, both of whom boasted advanced GPAs, (4.8 and 5.2, I believe), SAT scores, college level course work (one of them had completed Calculus 3), and numerous community service projects.

Both of these young men confidently approached the podium and spoke of opportunity, achievement, and success. As they spoke, I wondered if they had already felt the sting of the “other n-word.” Outwardly, they were both attractive, seemingly popular young men. What were their lives like? Did they feel penalized for the intellect? Did they feel the burden, the unrelenting pressure placed upon those deemed young, gifted, and black?

After the tassels were turned, I fought through the throng of graduate families to find my younger sister. After giving her my congratulations, I asked her if her valedictorian and salutatorian were ostracized for being so smart. Continue reading

Harvard students call cops upon seeing black people

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Wow. This is priceless. Thanks Wayne for the tip! From Gawker:


This weekend, on the bucolic Quad at Harvard University—typically, the site of a casual game of Ultimate, or perhaps an afternoon reading of some Shakespearean sonnets before English class—an unusual and, to some, frightening scene was played out. There were people throwing things! And running! And jumping! And most scary of all, every single one of them was black. So the Harvard students watching from their dormitory windows, growing increasingly agitated at the sights below, did what any normal, white Harvard student would do when they saw a large, seemingly unruly group of black people: They called the cops!

Except, well, oops—turns out it was just the Harvard Black Men’s Forum and Association of Black Harvard Women:

As members of the groups played games of dodgeball and capture-the-flag in the Quad as part of the annual “BMF-ABHW Challenge,” Cabot House residents fired off a string of impassioned e-mails questioning students’ presence on the public lawn—and whether they were students at all. Eventually, the Harvard University Police Department was called about the commotion, and officers asked the students to “keep the noise down,” according to police spokesman Steven G. Catalano.

Perhaps croquet would have been more appropriate?

Of A Split Mind: Thoughts on Affirmative Action

by Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

I’ve been reading and reading and reading about Barack Obama and his views on affirmative action.

First came this Washington Post Op-Ed analyzing Obama’s comments on ABC’s “This Week.”

Eugene Robinson, the author of the piece, compares Obama’s statements:

Obama has repeatedly gone on record as a supporter of affirmative action. But “if we have done what needs to be done to ensure that kids who are qualified to go to college can afford it,” he said in the ABC interview, “affirmative action becomes a diminishing tool for us to achieve racial equality in this society.”

He seemed to side with those who think class predominates when he said, “I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed.”

Robinson ends by discussing other issues in college education – like legacy admissions – and notes his own views on race and class.

After reading the Op-Ed, I came across another interesting post. Written by dnA of the Too Sense blog, he address the original issue in this post, and then revisits the topic in yesterday’s post.

dnA summarizes his views by stating:

Obama seems to be suggesting that AA is needed only for those people for whom “race and class still intersect.” That black middle class folks who are the first generation in college need AA, “as opposed to fifth or sixth generation college attendees.”

Empirical research bears out that race still matters in hiring practices, regardless of class, which means that black folks of all classes need Affirmative Action, not just those who are poor and are first generation college attendees.

Saying otherwise is suggesting a significant change in Affirmative Action as we understand it.

Obama is obviously between a rock and a hard place on that one. There is no right answer – at least, not one that will please a large group of people.

I wish I could supply an answer, but I cannot. On one hand, I understand Obama’s sentiments – most of the obstacles I have had in life have resulted from being poor, not being black. The boost I received from programs rooted in affirmative action were predominantly to overcome financial barriers. I remember sitting in my AP classes, listening to my friends discuss SAT prep programs like Kaplan, expecting their parents to cough up the $700 (it was much more expensive in 1999) it would take to increase their SAT scores by 200 points.

I remember being silent during those discussions, knowing that in my household a free $20 was hard to come by. I earned all my own money in those days, and $700 might as well have been seven million. Paying the reduced fees on my AP tests broke my pockets enough, along with all of the extra expenses involved in being an extra-curricular superstar and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. Thank goodness for my pre-college programs. They gave us PSATs and SAT prep every year, paid for up to five college applications, and allowed us access to internships, interviewing skills, and summer school and job opportunities that my friends took for granted.

Still, I understand Obama’s position. Broke is broke. Poor white kids are at just as much of a disadvantage as poor black kids, right? Continue reading

Clemson University students also throw “gangsta party” on MLK day

clemson university blackface ghetto gangsta party

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’m with Philip on this. These pictures make me want to vomit. As if the head-to-toe blackface wasn’t enough, some girl had to stuff the seat of her pants to give herself an exaggerated butt?

According to this article, the students did not realize their “gangsta theme” party would coincide with MLK day and shocker, they did not realize this would be offensive to anyone:

Students who organized the party have come forward to school officials to express a desire to reach out to those who were offended by the event and the pictures posted of it, said Robin Denny, the university news services director.

“The students said this was not intended to be offensive to anybody at all and (they) did not realize it would be,” Ms. Denny said.

I’d like to hear from students of color at Clemson or any of the other universities that have thrown these “ghetto” or “gangsta” parties. I can’t imagine what it would be like to know that my classmates are indulging in this kind of racism.

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clemson university ghetto gangsta blackface party

Will UC Berkeley become a um, Historically Asian College?

by guest contributor Jeff Yang

uc berkeleyCheck out this interesting story in the New York Times: “Little Asia On the Hill,” the cover feature of this week’s “Education Life” supplement. It explores something that Californians have been aware of for almost half a decade now–in the wake of the repeal of affirmative action laws, Asian Americans have become an increasingly dominant force at U.S. elite colleges.

UC Berkeley, considered by many to be the best public university in the nation, and perhaps the world, is currently 41 percent Asian, a proportion that’s over three times higher than the percentage of Asian Americans in the California population, and almost 10 times higher than the percentage of Asians in the U.S. And Berkeley is just one example among many; along the bottom of the article runs a ticker-style strip recounting the Asian American percentage on top college campuses across the nation, from 13 percent at Princeton to 27 percent at Wellesley, 17 percent at University of Texas – Austin, and 27 percent at M.I.T.

This poses a dramatic challenge for the redress of historical discrimination: Black and Latino enrollment at top universities has suffered significantly over the past five years. But it should be noted as well that the net effect on white enrollment has essentially been zero–suggesting that the elimination of race-based affirmative action has been exacerbated by the preservation of other kinds of questionable preference (such as preferences for the children of alumni, who are said to have a “thumb on the scale” giving them a 20 percent greater chance of admission at most schools).

And this is ultimately unfair to Asian Americans as well. If college admissions are to be a true meritocracy, why protect certain classes of applicants who are mostly white and mostly privileged? Legacies make up an average of 10 to 20 percent of admissions; at Ivy League colleges, legacy applicant pools range from 75 percent to 90 percent white.

But even eliminating legacy preferences won’t resolve this situation on its own. Nor are there easy and good solutions that don’t penalize groups or individuals in fundamentally life-changing ways. But there aren’t easy, good solutions to anything, really; other than on late night infomercials, “good” almost always goes hand in hand with “difficult and painful.”

That said, I’m intrigued with what’s happening at these, uh, Historically Asian Colleges. Critics have said that Asian grads of places like UC Irvine (majority Asian American), Berkeley, and UCLA (the “University of Caucasians Lost among Asians”) are not being prepared for the real world. They also say that Asian American students spend all their time in libraries, don’t contribute to “student culture,” and tend to seclude themselves into ethnic clusters, refusing even to interact across ethnic lines, much less racial ones.

Based on my own experiences visiting these campuses, I pretty much wholeheartedly disagree: That depiction of Asian Americans is at best a generalization and at worst a rationale for outright discrimination.

I also think that spending four (or so) years in an environment where you’re part of the “mainstream”–as opposed to an outsider, an exception, an alien–is incredibly empowering to this generation of Asian Americans. And when I say generation, I mean generation: 8 in 10 Asian Americans attend college, meaning that for Asian American Millennials, this four-year period of normality is essentially the norm.

I predict that this will be the most important generation in Asian American history–with more leaders, more outstanding achievement, and more social progress for our community than any preceding it, including my own (which I’m largely writing off; all in all, we’ve been like a lull between the pioneering generation of the 60s and 70s and the emerging one of the 00s and beyond).

I’d love to hear from those of you who attended or are attending heavily Asian American colleges, to get your opinions on the experience. In fact, I’d love to hear from all of you, to get your thoughts on this topic for a possible future column. Mail me with your thoughts at asianpopculture@gmail.com. And Happy New Year!