Monday, February 18, 2008

The Community College and Latino/as

The community college is in large part the major entry institution of higher education for Latina/o students. The community college is one of the 3 levels of public higher education outlined in California's Master Plan of Education, which admits a large number of students seeking vocational certificates, remediation courses, workforce training, community services courses, and finally but not least to the long list of community college missions is the lower division education for university transfer. In May 2007, a Latino Policy and Issues Brief from UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center examined the Latino transfer function to 4-year institutions.

According to the CA Postsecondary Education Commission (2004), of 100 Latina/o first time college students, 75 will enroll in a community college. Just 7 of these students will transfer to a public 4-year institution, 1 to a UC and 6 to a CSU. The need to increase the pipeline for more transfers to higher education institutions is critical and requires policy attention. Why aren't Latina/o students transferring from the community college? The answer is multifaceted and under critical research. Key theorists would argue that the community college is an institution of stratification and social reproduction. Sorokin would argue that society places individuals in their proper position within society and the community colleges are societal sorting machines. In addition, some community college administrators would also mention that the community college goals are not simply to transfer students but to address all of its missions. The article recommends the need for more effective transfer programs in which the responsibility is on the institution to disseminate information. How can the community college balance all of it missions while serving their respective community and exhibiting appropriate 'transfer cultures' for Latinas/os?

-JOYCE ROYS, ED261

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