How should colleges and universities address disparities in students’ academic preparation?
Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce asks a provocative question: What would it mean if those in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution had the same proportion of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees as the upper 60 percent?
- We’d increase degree attainment for the bottom 40 percent by 29 percentage points – from 28 percent to 57 percent, with the biggest gains experienced by Blacks and Hispanics.
- The financial benefit – from higher earnings and tax benefits -- would total nearly $1 trillion a year.
Equalizing educational attainment rates shouldn’t be a mission impossible. It’s not a radical or utopian goal.
So why does this seem to be beyond our ability?
I, like you, know the standard answers. Money – both higher education’s financial and opportunity costs – and competing demands on students’ time.
Then there’s the rationalization that seems to trump all others: The widespread belief that all too many students from low-income backgrounds are academically under-prepared for the rigors of a college education. After all, we know all too well, many of these students had unequal access to high quality preschools or to highly experienced K-12 teachers. Many were concentrated in high poverty K-12 schools that failed to offer advanced coursework.
The rationalization for disparities in college graduation rates takes various forms:...
Read Full Story: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-gamma/rethinking-performance-gap
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