12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, August 2, 2009
The Associated Press
AUSTIN – Hispanic enrollment in Texas colleges and universities would need to almost double in the next six years to meet the state's higher- education goals by 2015, according to a new state report.
The staff report approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on Thursday looked at progress toward goals adopted by the state in 2000. The board has long considered lagging Hispanic enrollment and graduation rates a major problem.
"Texas is not one of the highest-achieving states in terms of overall education attainment," said Raymund Paredes, the state's higher education commissioner. "And Hispanics are the lowest-achieving of the three major ethnic groups in Texas."
The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that the review found that Hispanic enrollment had grown faster than that of blacks or whites but not fast enough to meet the state's goals.
About 367,000 Hispanic college students were enrolled in Texas colleges and universities last year. But about 309,000 more Hispanic students would need to enroll in h igher education by 2015 to meet the state's goal of 5.7 percent of Hispanics enrolled.
One problem is that too few Hispanic students graduate from high school, the report said. Only 54.2 percent of Hispanic seventh-graders in 1995 graduated from a Texas public high school, compared with 61.3 percent of all students, the report said.
"Latino youth begin kindergarten far behind their peers," said Patricia Gandara, a UCLA professor of education. "Latino students require more investment by the state."
Officials pledged to address Hispanic achievement, as well as shortfalls in technology-related degrees, research funding and other benchmarks.
Texas has a goal of having 5.7 percent of each major ethnic and racial group in the state enroll in college by 2015. Last year, 5.4 percent of Texans were enrolled in public and private colleges and universities, up from 5 percent in 2000. Among blacks, the percentage was 5.6 percent, the report said.
The Associated Press