Faced with dismal high school and college graduation rates for Chicana and Chicano students, educators, policy-makers, community leaders and other stakeholders must do more to increase the number of Chicanos attaining high school, college and graduate degrees, according to a UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center report.
Out of 100 Chicana and Chicano students who start elementary school, only 46 graduate from high school, eight receive a bachelor’s degree and only two earn a graduate or professional degree, according to statistics based on 2000 U.S. Census Bureau and other educational data sources. Less than one Chicana and Chicano of the 100 earns a doctorate.
In contrast, of every 100 white elementary school students, 84 graduate from high school, 26 graduate with a bachelor’s degree and 10 earn a professional degree, researchers said. Compared with other major racial and ethnic groups, Chicanas and Chicanos, who are the fastest growing segment of the student population in California and all major cities west of the Mississippi, have the lowest educational attainment of any group.
“Education is a crucial determinant for success in our society,” said co-author Daniel SolÃ³rzano, a UCLA professor of education and the center’s associate director. “What we see happening for Chicanos and Chicanas, however, is that they drop, or are pushed, out of the educational pipeline in higher numbers than any other group. While it is easy to blame the students, the responsibilities reside in the educational system itself.”
SolÃ³rzano and Tara J. Yosso, an assistant professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a visiting scholar at the UCLA center, identified several conditions that impede the flow of Chicanas and Chicanos through what researchers termed “the educational pipeline.”