The Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Hispanic enrollment in Texas colleges and universities would need to almost double in the next six years to meet the state's goals by 2015, according to a new state report.
The staff report approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on Thursday looked a progress toward goals adopted by the state in 2000. The board has long considered lagging Hispanic enrollment and graduation rates a major problem.
"Texas is not one of the highest-achieving states in terms of overall education attainment," Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said. "And Hispanics are the lowest-achieving of the three major ethnic groups in Texas."
The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that the review found Hispanic enrollment had grown faster than that of blacks or whites but not fast enough to meet the state's goals. Nearly 129,500 more Hispanic students have enrolled in higher education since 2000, but another 309,000 would need to do so by 2015 to meet the state's goal of 5.7 percent of Hispanics enrolled.
Texas had about 367,000 Latino college students last year.
One problem is that too few Hispanic students graduate from high school, the report said. Only 54.2 percent of Hispanic seventh-graders in 1995 graduated from a Texas public high school, compared with 61.3 percent of all students, it said.
"Latino youth begin kindergarten far behind their peers," said Patricia Gandara, a UCLA professor of education. "Latino students require more investment by the state."
Officials pledged to address Hispanic achievement, as well as shortfalls in technology-related degrees, research funding and other benchmarks.
Texas has a goal of having 5.7 percent of each major ethnic and racial group in the state enroll in college by 2015. Last year, 5.4 percent of Texans were enrolled in public and private colleges and universities, up from 5 percent in 2000.
The proportion of blacks was the highest, at 5.6 percent, the report said.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com