In the post “Merit” Apartheid: Forces Determined to Segregate Higher Education? I wrote:
It appears more and more that there are forces that are determined to re-segregate higher education in Texas and elsewhere. The desegregation of higher education is currently inevitable in places like Texas under existing policies such at the Top Ten Percent Plan because of the rapidly changing racial demographics of students in K-12.
Although I am not able to respond to all comments posted on Cloaking Inequity, a reader asked several pertinent clarifying questions related to the Top 10% policy. I contacted Dr. Choquette Hamilton and she responded to his questions. I have bolded the reader’s questions and Dr. Hamilton’s responses are in quotations.
First, she focused on Top 10% graduates as opposed to Top 10% matriculants. Perhaps there is something happening in college that leads to higher drop-out rates for Hispanics and African Americans? (Here I am thinking about lack of mentors, for example).
The top 10% “graduates” I’m referring to are those from high school, not college. Although, Black and Latino students do have lower graduation rates from college compared to their White and Asian American, these students do better at tier 1 institutions compared to less competitive colleges and universities. This is probably due to more resources being available to struggling students at research institutions (see Vasquez Heilig, J., Reddick, R., Hamilton, C., & Dietz, L. (2011). Actuating equity: Historical and contemporary analyses of African American access to selective higher education from Sweatt to the top 10 percent law. Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, 17, 11-27.)
Second, she compared the Top 10% graduation rates of African Americans and Hispanics to the Census data on Texas’ percentages of African Americans and Hispanics. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to compare the Top 10% graduation rates to percentages of college-age population? Perhaps there are more African American and Hispanic adults as opposed to college age population?
I only included the Texas demographic comparison data in this quick analysis but I have also compared it to the composition of graduating seniors in Texas. Actually, the underrepresentation gets worse when you look at that small segment of the population. The chart is below.
Third, could it be that African Americans and Hispanics are not as informed about the TTP Rule as are Caucasians and therefore are less likely to apply for the program? If that is the case, would the solution perhaps be more counseling and increased information (i.e. Cafe College in San Antonio) about the program?
Lack of information is certainly a factor (see Niu, S.X., Sullivan, T., & Tienda, M. (2008). Minority talent loss and the Texas top 10 percent law. Social Science Quarterly (Blackwell Publishing Limited), 89(4), 831-845. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00586.x). However, some of that has changed as the law has grown in popularity. In fact, the greatest increase in applications has come from Black and Latino students. See the table below:
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