News

    Educators See Gender Gap in Minority Education

    Analysts say African Americans and Hispanics are under-represented in higher education in the United States, and they worry about another trend in minority education. College graduation rates are lower for minority males than females.  Researchers and educators met recently in Los Angeles to address the problem.

    The disparity, says psychologist Aida Hurtado of the University of California, Santa Cruz, is illustrated by a Latino family in her city.  The daughter was one of her students, who completed a bachelor's degree and later earned a master's degree in counseling.  While the young woman was progressing in her career, her brother was killed in a shooting described as gang-related.

    Too often, says Ms. Hurtado, there is a similar pattern: young women overcome poverty to excel at school, while their brothers drop out, find poorly paying jobs and sometimes get into trouble with the law.

    Often raised in the inner city, minority boys and girls face similar obstacles, but Professor Hurtado says cultural factors also come into play.  Latino mothers tend to be strict with their teenage daughters.  Too often, she says, the young men are given free rein.

    "Young women, the sisters of these young men, end up having very strong curfews, end up having a lot of responsibilities at home, a lot of tasks assigned to them.  And if they don't do them, they're accountable," she explained.

    She says that training can lead to success in school.

    Harry Pachon is president of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, which hosted a recent conference on Latino males in higher education.  He says at least 20 percent more Hispanic women than men go to college, a pattern also seen among African Americans.

    He says factors other than culture can explain the disparity.  He says most teachers in elementary school are women who can serve as role models for minority girls.   He says minority students may not understand the process of getting into college, or of finding loans or grants to pay their tuition.  He says that for young minority men in particular, there is also the lure of jobs, with a salary and early passage into the world of adulthood.  The jobs, however, tend to be in low-paying fields such as auto repair.

    "Latino males have more employment opportunities with a high school degree or after they're 17 years old -- in [auto] body shops or manual labor -- that are not open to females, so that females see the value of a college education," he noted.  "But it's really a shame because the difference between a college graduate and a non-college graduate is a million dollars over a lifetime.  So it is a million dollar decision for the individual."

    Aaron Thomas is educational director of the National Urban League, an African American civil rights organization.  He says young black men often emulate entertainers or sports stars, while their sisters stay in school and get an education.  He says few boys understand how hard it is to follow in the footsteps of their idols.

    "A Jay-Z, or some professional athlete in football or basketball, is not the norm," he explained.  "I think those opportunities are slim, and they [successful stars] usually are somebody with an extraordinary level of talent.  But when you start talking about our doctors and our lawyers and those who can really contribute to the larger society, we have to have folks who are obtaining college degrees and going on to even graduate work and research."

    College enrollment is not low for all minority groups.  Asian Americans have higher graduation rates than other populations.  The scholars and community workers who met in Los Angeles say the lower rates for African American and Hispanic youngsters result from many factors, from a lack of role models to high crime rates in the inner city.   

    Aaron Thomas says this is a national problem, and he uses the analogy of a sports team.

    "We have a team and we have players on the bench that we refuse to use, and I think that is foolish, I think it is shortsighted, and I think that it doesn't make America the best that it can be," he added.  "We have to give all the talent an opportunity to score, an opportunity to move the ball down the field, and an opportunity to play in the game."

    He says the educational gap between minority men and women, and between minorities and others, can only be closed through joint efforts by educators, policy makers and community leaders.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.