Here’s some welcome news from our friends at Fox News Latino concerning Latino educational attainment:
“A new study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley revealed that the number of Latinos holding a doctorate degree rose 161 percent from 1990 to 2010, outpacing the non-Hispanic rate by almost double as that finished at 90 percent.”
The news is not only exciting, it’s also crucial. Educational attainment is a determining factor for success in other areas of life, and for many Latinos, obtaining a doctorate degree provides an escape route out of poverty and joblessness, and up the socioeconomic ladder.
Still, as the article points out, Latino educational achievement still desperately trails that of non-Latino whites:
“Despite the gains in higher education by Latinos, the group is still a minority compared with non-Hispanic whites. White students pursuing Ph.D.’s at Berkeley outnumber Hispanics almost 7 to 1.
At the start of the 2011 school year there were 385 Latino students working on a doctorate at Berkeley, a 46 percent increase in 20 years. Even though the number of non-Hispanic, white doctoral students fell 25 percent in the same period, they still numbered 2,529.”
In an effort to combat the lack of opportunity among Latino students and ensure that more Latinos are pursuing doctorate degrees, Vanderbilt University has teamed up with Fisk University (a traditionally minority school) to create the “bridge program,” which allows students to receive their Master’s at Fisk and then pursue their doctorates at Vanderbilt.
Kudos to Vanderbilt, Fisk and the other institutions tackling the issue of low educational attainment in the Latino community. It borders on redundancy to point out the manifold obstacles in front of Latinos pursuing advanced degrees — low-income, family needs, neighborhood poverty, fear, doubt, a lack of role models, and a lack of positive reinforcement, among countless others. Such obstacles, instead of linear, form a web that effectively binds many Latinos that would otherwise obtain a degree.
Educational attainment should be a cardinal principle of the Latino community. It is one of the pillars of community uplift — a road lined with open doors. More than knowledge, a good education equips Latinos with choice.