By Jordan Mitchell | Staff Writer |
Minority students close in on the achievement gap with an increase in graduation rates.
The achievement gap, as defined by the National Education Association (NEA), serves as a representation of the academic difference between groups of students based on race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status.
According to an article in The Press Enterprise, the six-year graduation rate for Latino freshmen reached a total of 51 percent in 2009, two points away from the 53 percent rate of white students.
“The CSU has long acknowledged the existence of an achievement gap – but we should not be, and are not, satisfied that only half of our undergraduates from under served communities graduate within six years. That is simply not inclusive,” said Chancellor Timothy White in his 2016 State of the CSU address.
Many programs, such as the DREAMers Resource and Success Center, have been created to further bridge the achievement gap and provide the resources minority students need to succeed at CSUSB.
“At the end of the day, we all – the state and the university – share a common cause in seeing more students succeed at higher rates, so they can go on to design California’s future,” said White.
“Perhaps the graduation rate has gone up in years because it is so important to have a college degree these days. My grandparents never went to college, but they were able to build a very comfortable life for themselves and their family. I don’t think that’s realistic now,” stated Latino student Chris Branson.
Others argue that graduating with a college degree is vital to compete in the current workforce.
“I think there are many reasons as to why the rate has gone up. However, I feel the biggest reason is because of the competitiveness in finding jobs leading to careers,” said CSULA latina graduate Jaci Garcia.
Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA) stated, the gaps between white-black and white-Hispanic achievements have been declining for the past 40 years, but White says it can be brought down to zero.
“Now a graduation achievement gap of zero is possible. It has been accomplished. We have CSU campuses that have closed the gap. But, I do not hold the illusions that taking this step as a system is easy,” said White.
While there are a mix of opinions of what has truly contributed to the graduation increase, White acknowledged that closing the achievement gap and increasing the number of college graduates is a responsibility shared by both the students and the CSU faculty.
“It is our shared responsibility to chart the course…which closes the achievement gap…that enables any Californian with the will and intellect to read the moon’s Sea of Tranquility… to earn a degree at the CSU,” said White.