The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine has spent more than two decades shining a light on issues affecting Hispanics in higher education. We’ve provided a forum for debate and data to inform and energize the Latino/a college and university population. Often we have referenced high school issues that affect incoming college freshmen.
We recognize that in many communities, public school teachers are the only people students get to know who have ever been to college. Those teachers are in a make-or-break role when it comes to the educational future of low income students, including many Hispanics.
There is much exciting news about groundbreaking programs across the country that inspire, prepare and facilitate the higher education of minority and low-income students. This is particularly encouraging when the current bleak economic forecast for budgets and college programs is taken into account. It seems that in tough times, colleges and universities are becoming more innovative in their recruitment and retention practices. So it is no surprise that the most forward looking have been forming strategic alliances with secondary schools.
Over 20 years, we’ve interviewed more than a few high-achieving Hispanics, including college presidents, who’d been advised in high school that “college is not for you.” That mindset persists in some venues, but today many high school counselors and teachers go the extra mile to encourage Hispanic students – to help them find a path to college that is welcoming and well suited to their skills. That extra mile is especially important at a time when educating all Americans to the highest level possible is now a national priority, urged upon us by realities of a global economy in which new world powers are competing effectively.
Through the work of foundations and research institutes over several decades, much more is known today about what colleges can do to attract, recruit and retain minorities in higher education. And what our K-12 systems can do to prepare them. There is a far greater awareness of specific barriers faced by many Hispanic students, both those born here and those brought here by their parents. Language barriers. Identity crises. A high rate of teen pregnancy. The expectation that children of working age will contribute financially to the family, and stay close to home. The mistrust of borrowing from financial institutions. Even so, survey after survey now show that Hispanics across the board are as eager as any other group – and more than some – for their children to be well educated. To work with their brains, not their backs.
Education is changing – and we’re changing with it. We launched Priming the Pump, an ongoing feature by psychologist Miquela Rivera that offers advice for anyone parenting or working with young Latinos/as on how to help them become confident, motivated, engaged human beings – capable of creating or seizing life’s opportunities, including those offered by higher education.
And in this issue, we are launching a new feature – High School Forum – to expand the voice of this critical component, to report on the movement to build a stronger liaison between high school and higher ed, and to help readers identify colleges and universities that earnestly seek and provide for Hispanic students.
The first High School Forum will explore a growing phenomenon called “early college high schools.” These schools are cropping up all over America, giving targeted students the opportunity to compress the time it takes to complete a high school diploma and the first two years of college.
High School Forum articles in the planning will look at early preparation for STEM careers, the role of community and family in academic achievement, and the importance of extracurricular activities.
This magazine issue and others throughout the year go out to high school guidance counselors, high school teachers, high school principals – the people who guide and direct high school students to colleges – and are often interested in additional college credits for themselves, from special certifications to master’s and Ph.D. programs.
High school personnel often are an especially important source of college referrals for lowincome Hispanics and others. They already wear many hats, especially in the resource-poor school districts that are the norm for many Hispanics, and thus the burden is often on higher education providers to get their attention.
The Hispanic Outlook takes its role as education advocate, enabler and liaison very seriously. We strive to provide a consistent, clear and unwavering message in every issue. We are trusted by many students and teachers to provide solid, well-focused information – practical and instructive to high school and college faculty and staff – inspirational and relevant to students at all levels of achievement.
As always, the magazine welcomes input from all its constituents, and the High School Forum feature is no exception. We look forward to your suggestions and to your news about barriers, breakthroughs and other noteworthy happenings in your venue.