Saving Latino Males the Focus of New Brief from Dr. Victor Saenz - December 14, 2011

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Dr. Victor Saenz

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Dr. Luis Ponjuan

Dr. Victor Saenz, an assistant professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Administration, and Dr. Luis Ponjuan of the University of Florida have co-authored a landmark brief that outlines recommendations for preventing the disappearance of Latino males from higher education.

The publication, titled “Men of Color: Ensuring the Academic Success of Latino Males in Higher Education,” targets policymakers and education leaders, and it lays out model program examples and action steps that can bolster the number of Latino males who attend college and graduate. According to the authors, immediate intervention is necessary in order to ensure future economic prosperity in the U.S. and the social wellbeing of a significant portion of the country’s population.

“U.S. Census data are clear – in the coming years, America’s Latino/a community will continue to drive population and labor force growth,” said Saenz. “The pressing reality, though, is that men of color, and Latino males in particular, lag significantly behind their female peers in terms of college access and degree attainment.

"While research on Latino males is limited and only points to the many challenges facing them, there exist a few promising practices that promote these students' advancement in education - all the way from elementary to secondary and through post-secondary. We're presenting real-life interventions that can be taken advantage of today to help strengthen the educational success of all Latino males."

— Institute for Higher Education Policy President Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper

According to Ponjuan and Saenz, the first step in ensuring Latino males’ success is to provide information and strategies to stakeholders at the federal, state, regional and local levels. The comprehensive embrace and implement a comprehensive agenda that spans early childhood through college. The agenda should emphasize family and community engagement; college and career-ready curricula; linked academic and social supports; and affordability, transparency and financial literacy.

In their three-part brief, Saenz and Ponjuan provide:

  • a review of recent census and educational attainment data, identifying critical transition points in early childhood, secondary and postsecondary education between Latinas/os that affect college readiness and completion
  • key factors that will help stakeholders develop and implement education programs and initiatives to increase the success of Latino male students
  • policy and programmatic implications for stakeholders who are working on making changes at the pre-college and college levels

“Missing the opportunity to provide economic and social advancement for this community will have a profound impact on the future of U.S. citizens and the nation’s economy,” said Saenz. “So far, the growing gender and achievement gap has largely gone unnoticed by policymakers and unexamined by researchers.”

The brief was published by the national Institute for Higher Education Policy’s Pathways to college Network and may be downloaded in its entirety at www.ihep.org.

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Last updated on December 14, 2011