NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In a new position paper, Building Bridges to the Future for Latino Students, experts from McGraw-Hill Education and the Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents (ALAS) examine why Latino students are unprepared for postsecondary education and careers. To address this issue, ALAS and McGraw-Hill Education's College & Career Readiness Group call for a much greater emphasis on personalized learning, college and career planning, and the utilization of digital learning tools.
Describing the country's staggering dropout rate – with one in five students dropping out of high school every day – as an economic drain that costs the United States more than $300 billion per year, the paper cites a massive disparity in graduation rates among Hispanics and their Asian and Caucasian peers. Only 56 percent of Hispanic students graduate on time with a regular diploma, compared to 81 percent of Asian students and 77 percent of Caucasian students. Further, there remains a gap between the skills and abilities required to earn a high school diploma and those required to succeed in a college or a career.
The paper cites three major barriers which prevent Latino students from planning for career and college: lack of guidance, lack of relevancy of high-school courses to career or college, and lack of challenging coursework. Fewer than 50 percent of students take preparatory classes, with a vast majority unaware of the necessary steps to prepare for and enter college. Latino students rely almost exclusively on family and friends for information about college requirements, and once in college, these students report having less information about college requirements than other students.
"Latino high school students cannot prepare for college and future careers if they don't have a plan or goal," says Carlos Garcia, president of the Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents. "We must break down the school-to-work transitional barriers by supporting the development of students' college and career readiness skills through innovative tools that help students set goals based on personal, academic and career interests."
The paper contends that Latino students' success in college involves having correct information, interacting and mentoring with supportive adults, learning 21st century skills, and completing a rigorous academic program. To this end, the ALAS and McGraw-Hill recommend that the U.S. educational system support, beginning in middle school, the creation of individualized career and college planning. The paper asserts that when students develop a career plan and receive career counseling in high school, they are more successful in academic courses, less likely to drop out, and more successful following high school. In addition, the paper emphasizes that teachers must take an individualized learning approach and utilize technology and college and career readiness programs to help students make informed career decisions, take control of their future and most importantly, prepare them for what lies ahead.
The paper highlights a successful college and career readiness pilot program, PhillySuccess!, run by a Philadelphia school district that partnered with McGraw-Hill Education. Low-income, minority students in three high schools participated in the program, which motivated students to examine their postsecondary plans early in their high school careers. It also provided them with engaging digital lessons involving essential life skills.
"We must raise the bar in terms of what we expect from minority students and reinvent a system that truly prepares students for life after high school," said Jaya Yoo, director of McGraw-Hill Education's College & Career Readiness Group. "Educators must reject the status quo, and instead promote Latino students' success through planning, defining aspirations, clarifying interests, exploring career requirements, and connecting high school to a future of college and careers."
Download a copy of "Building Bridges to the Future for Latino Students," here.
About McGraw-Hill Education
McGraw-Hill Education is a content, software and services-based education company that draws on its more than 100 years of educational expertise to offer solutions, which improve learning outcomes around the world. McGraw-Hill is the adaptive education technology leader with the vision for creating a highly personalized learning experience that prepares students of all ages for the world that awaits. The company has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions available in more than 65 languages. For additional information, visit http://www.mheducation.com/.
About the Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents (ALAS)
ALAS is committed to identifying, recruiting, developing and advancing Latino school administrators in order to improve the educational accomplishments of Latino youth. Its mission is to provide leadership at the national level that assures every school in America effectively serves the educational needs of all students with an emphasis on Latino Youth by building capacity, promoting best practices, and transforming educational institutions. For additional information, visit http://www.alasedu.net/.
SOURCE McGraw-Hill Education