A very rough road for community college students:  Many graduated from low-performing high schools that ill-prepared them for college, making them unlikely to get a degree. L.A.’s. community college district is responding with special programs, but one social scientist says it’s not enough.
The challenges facing community colleges nationwide are borne out by a trio of studies released last week by the Civil Rights Project, a social science research group at UCLA:

The studies found that black and Latino community college students in Southern California are failing to advance because many have graduated from low-performing high schools that ill-prepare them for college work. These students then end up at similar two-year institutions with poor transfer records.
One of the studies analyzed high school graduates and the transfer rates of students after six years at 51 community colleges in Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties. It found that students who graduated from high schools with large minority populations, low test scores and low numbers of parents with college degrees were far less likely to transfer to a four-year institution.
The likelihood of attending a low- or high-performing high school was strongly related to race and ethnicity, the studies found. Patterns of high school segregation — by race, ethnicity and poverty — continued in the community college system because students typically attend the college closest to home.

Photo:   Los Angeles Southwest College students Vincent Atkins, from left, Frank Simmons, Kent Williams and Foster Washington work on a class project together. Behind them is supplemental English instructor Eddie Powell. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

A very rough road for community college students: Many graduated from low-performing high schools that ill-prepared them for college, making them unlikely to get a degree. L.A.’s. community college district is responding with special programs, but one social scientist says it’s not enough.

The challenges facing community colleges nationwide are borne out by a trio of studies released last week by the Civil Rights Project, a social science research group at UCLA:

The studies found that black and Latino community college students in Southern California are failing to advance because many have graduated from low-performing high schools that ill-prepare them for college work. These students then end up at similar two-year institutions with poor transfer records.

One of the studies analyzed high school graduates and the transfer rates of students after six years at 51 community colleges in Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties. It found that students who graduated from high schools with large minority populations, low test scores and low numbers of parents with college degrees were far less likely to transfer to a four-year institution.

The likelihood of attending a low- or high-performing high school was strongly related to race and ethnicity, the studies found. Patterns of high school segregation — by race, ethnicity and poverty — continued in the community college system because students typically attend the college closest to home.

Photo: Los Angeles Southwest College students Vincent Atkins, from left, Frank Simmons, Kent Williams and Foster Washington work on a class project together. Behind them is supplemental English instructor Eddie Powell. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

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    I’m from Ventura County. This is the story of my family members. We gotta do the research, but also implement new things...
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    This research is crucial to document what is happening and use in support of a movement for creative, critical...
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