Even as the number of Latinos in California rises to nearly four in ten residents, just 12 percent of Latinos in the state have earned a bachelor's degree. That poses a serious problem, argues a new report from The Campaign for College Opportunity, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit.
More and more jobs nationwide require education beyond high school, and California is no exception. "The future of our economy and the state will rise and fall on the educational success of Latinos," says the report.
Roughly half of all foreign-born Latinos in California never graduated from high school. But native-born Latinos--and the vast majority of Latino children in California are native-born--are much more likely to graduate from high school and go on to college than their parents and grandparents were. Still, they don't earn degrees at anything near the same rate as their white and Asian peers. With half of California's children under 18 now coming from Latino backgrounds, policymakers have identified college completion as a key issue to address.
All kinds of obstacles prevent Latino children from heading to college, let alone matriculating at the state's top universities. There's the fact that Latino students are less likely to complete college-preparatory coursework when they're in high school. And the reality that many Latino children grow up in families without college experience--while Latino parents consistently report that they want their children to earn a college degree, they don't necessarily know how to coach their children through the process of college admission the way affluent white parents do.