This past year, the Pew Hispanic Center released results from the U.S. Census Bureau that found Latino college student populations meeting a number of milestones in 2011:
- The number of Latinos enrolled in college exceeded 2 million
- Latinos made up 16.5% of all college enrollments
- Latinos made up 25.2% of student enrolled in two-year colleges
- For the first time, Latinos were the nation’s largest minority among four-year college and university students
These milestones reflect a continuing upward trend now seen by many college admissions departments. Should this be a wakeup call for college administrators? One university in rural northwestern Michigan decided to answer the call.
Last month I wrote a post about a new human centered design initiative from the Keller Futures Center for improving resilience among Latino youth. Interesting enough, about the time we were completing the project, an article appeared in The Rapidian (a local Grand Rapids online news and information source) about the Grand Rapids Latino student achievement gap. Unfortunately, the statistics look bleak. According to the article post, Grand Rapids students in the eleventh grade are scoring at 18% proficiency in math and 32% in reading compared to statewide scores of 52% in math and 63% in reading. What are causes of these educational gaps and what can be done to close them?
Local Grand Rapids prevention coordinator Angel Rodriguez once invited me to talk with his middle and high school students enrolled in the Yo Puedo Latino youth program. At one point in the conversation, the students were enlightened by the fact that in 2050, non-Anglo populations will become the majority of people in the U.S. Angel was quick to remind the students that true empowerment can only be achieved by taking advantage of opportunities afforded through education. He is right.