Rejoinder to Questions about Forces Determined to Segregate Higher Education

UT-Austin Black Graduation 2013

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.

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 11.02.54 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 11.03.05 PM

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Categories: African Americans, Higher Education Access, Latina/os

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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3 Comments on “Rejoinder to Questions about Forces Determined to Segregate Higher Education”

  1. Monty J. Thornburg
    May 25, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    “I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed by all the rapid changes happening in the education sphere. I’m positive I’m not alone in feeling this way” is how I feel, and I borrowed this quote from a previous blog on vouchers.

    The neo- liberal and neo- conservative groups all seem to have one thing in common. That is to further disadvantage the already dis-advantaged with respect to economic opportunities- and to empower themselves- that is the 1% Left or Right who control things economically, through the banks and other financial and corporate institutions.

    My larger question is this: Is this related to the “neo- nativist” leanings in America?

    I have been doing some historical research about the beginnings of the Republican party. After all, Lincoln was “the” Republican that started our current “two party” system. The “free soil” movement, and the movement to “abolish slavery” combined in1856 when the Republican Party was formed. The election between Fremont, Fillmore and Buchanan occurred in 1856. It was Fillmore’s “Nativist” and “Racist” campaign that turned the election and gave Lincoln, a master political thinker, an opening four years later.

    Economic considerations ruled the day then, and I suspect they still do. Have things really changed since then? And, if so, how much?

  2. Monty J. Thornburg, Ph.D.
    December 12, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Answer yes:

    My larger question was this: Is this related to the “neo- nativist” leanings in America?

    The “Know-nothing’ party is back … But, this time they really “Know-nothing” …

    In Texas, the incumbent John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, faces a primary challenge from Tea Party firebrand Rep. Steve Stockman. Stockman is seen as a “nut” by some and dismissed. That’s a mistake!

    He is a sitting Congressman and his “Christian Identity” and “2nd Amendment” leanings coupled with his attendance with AZ Tea Party efforts to prove President Obama is not a citizen, coupled with his previous interest in Texas with the “secessionist” groups- tells me that much is related to these “neo-nativist” groups.

    Look up these organizations: the “Christian Identity Movement” the “Sovereign Nation, Aryan Nation, KKK, the “Waco-Militia Movement’ etc., and you’ll see they are all connected.

    Remember, these folks all have children and some of them bring their parents “attitudes” to school. School teachers, counselors, administrators must deal with the conflicts; both between students and sometimes with “internal confusion” these students have and that arise. Fighting bigotry and hatred is a real problem in some places. These parents have their own historical perspective that is counter to “mainstream” even sugar coated ideas of Civil Rights etc., and other history taught in schools.

    This is NOT only a Texas phenomena as these groups exist all over the nation. The “Christian Identity Movement” for example began here in my own CA region. That group is responsible for much of the “segregation” “hatred” divisions in CA and now nationwide prisons- i.e. the Aryan Nation, the Crips and Bloods, Norteneos, etc., etc. … and the violence in those prisons and I might add in juvenile detention facilities; all spills out to schools.

    Some of that is addressed in my article: Thornburg, M.J. (2014) “Searching for Social Justice in the San Joaquin Valley of CA”
    http://www.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-6555-9_38

  3. Monty J. Thornburg, Ph.D.
    December 12, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    error message above: Use link here for article: “Searching for Social Justice”
    Some of that is addressed in my article: Thornburg, M.J. (2014) “Searching for Social Justice in the San Joaquin Valley of CA”

    http://springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-6555-9_38

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