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Expanding Opportunity in Higher Education

Leveraging Promise

Patricia Gandara, Gary Orfield, Catherine L. Horn

Publication Year: 2006

The dream of public higher education in America is to provide opportunity for many and to offer transformative help to American communities and the economy. Expanding Opportunity in Higher Education explores the massive challenges facing California and the nation in realizing this goal during a time of enormous demographic change. The immediate focus on California is particularly appropriate given the size of the state—it educates one out of every nine students in the country—and its checkered political record with respect to civil rights and educational inequities. The book includes essays not only by academics looking at the state’s educational system as a whole, but also by those within the policy system who are trying to keep it going in difficult times. The contributors show that the destiny of California, and the nation, rests on the courage of policymakers, both within the universities and within the government, to move aggressively to reclaim the hope of millions of students who can make enormous contributions to this society if only given the chance.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series, Frontiers in Education

Expanding Opportunity in Higher Education

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pp. ix-x

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p. xi-xi

We want to thank Jorge Ruiz de Velasco and Mike Smith at the Hewlett Foundation, Marty Campbell at the Irvine Foundation, and Jorge Bal

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1. Introduction: Creating a 21st-century Vision of Access and Equity in Higher Education

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pp. 1-16

The United States is facing a severe crisis of opportunity for higher education compounded by inadequate financing, failure to address the educational needs of an exploding population of students of color, excessive reliance on flawed testing systems, inadequate investment in increasing space for a growing population, and major reversals of civil rights policies that have changed the face...

Part 1. The Role of K-12 Education in Access and Opportunity in Higher Education

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pp. 17-18

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2. California Opportunity Indicators: Informing and Monitoring California’s Progress Toward Equitable College Access

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pp. 19-52

We begin with a reminder of what is well known. There are stark statewide disparities among California’s racial and ethnic groups in high school completion and college participation—a finding that is not unique to this region but exists across the nation. Figure 2.1 documents these disparities for a cohort of students who graduated from California public high schools in spring 2002. ...

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3. Lowering Barriers to College Access: Opportunities for More Effective Coordination of State and Federal Student Aid Policies

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pp. 53-74

Nearly forty years ago, the federal and state governments initiated policies and programs—through a legislative partnership—in an effort to ensure access to higher education regardless of student and family economic circumstances. As a result, millions of students who otherwise could not have afforded college were able to enroll in higher education and attain degrees, which in turn propelled economic growth in the late 20th century (Advisory Committee, 2001). ...

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4. The Role of Advanced Placement and Honors Courses in College Admissions

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pp. 75-114

Begun in 1955, the original intent of the Advanced Placement (AP) program was to provide students the opportunity to take college-level coursework and earn college credit while still in high school. Initially AP was used almost exclusively for purposes of college credit and placement, as distinct from admissions. ...

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5. K-12 and the Pipeline to Higher Education

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pp. 115-140

Access to higher education is dependent in very large part on the quality of the K-12 schooling to which students are exposed, and California, like the rest of the nation, is taking a long look at what it means to provide a high quality education to elementary and secondary school students. Long before enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), many states were engaged in a series of reform efforts aimed at improving a public education system ...

Part 2. The Role of Higher Education in Creating Access and Opportunity

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pp. 141-142

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6. Measuring the State of Equity in Public Higher Education

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pp. 143-166

With these words, Lyndon B. Johnson rightfully pointed out that equity involves both opportunity as well as results. Yet, almost forty years later, on just about every indicator of educational outcome, from degrees earned to grade point average, Whites and Asians are proportionally overrepresented and Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans are proportionally underrepresented. This is true in institutions that are highly selective and predominantly White, are open-access with ...

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7. Reaping the Benefits of Grutter: College Admissions and Racial/Ethnic Diversity

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pp. 167-192

The tool of affirmative action, while useful in its own right, has not succeeded in lifting the country’s higher education system out of crisis. As outlined in the introductory chapter of this volume, even with the use of race-conscious admissions policies, there continues to be enormous disparity between college admission rates of students of color—particularly Blacks and Latinos—and Whites. ...

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8. The Effectiveness of the Transfer Path for Educationally Disadvantaged Students: California as a Case Study in the Development of a Dual Admissions Program

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pp. 193-224

Low-income and ethnic minority students enroll in two-year and community colleges in much higher proportions than other students (see, for example, NCES, 2004). For this reason, the effectiveness of transfer policies in broadening access to higher education, particularly for students from underrepresented groups, has become increasingly important as state governments look for ways of accommodating significantly greater numbers of college-age students. ...

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9. A Strengthened Community College Role in Teacher Preparation: Improving Outcomes for California’s Minority Students

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pp. 225-242

Effective, well-trained teachers are a critical component of a high quality K- 12 education. For too many minority students in California, however, consistent access to a well-trained and experienced teacher is rare. With a persistent achievement gap between White students and underrepresented minority students, a shortage of qualified teachers for California schools hurts students, families, and the state’s economy. ...

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10. The Educational Pipeline and the Future Professorate: Who Will Teach California’s and the Nation’s Latino and African American College Students?

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pp. 243-264

The educational pipeline for Chicanos, Latinos, and African Americans is rife with massive leaks. The ultimate result of the extremely leaky pipeline is that faculty in the nation’s colleges and universities do not reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the population. California has the most racially and ethnically diverse population in the nation, and it is there that the disparity ...

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11. Access to California Higher Education: The Promise and the Performance

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pp. 265-276

California higher education has long been regarded as one of the best, if not the best, public systems of higher education in the country and in the world. The California Master Plan for Higher Education was developed in 1960 through the thoughtful work of several individuals and the leadership of Clark Kerr. ...

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12. Conclusion: Fateful Decisions

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pp. 277-290

The nation’s institutions of higher education are a source of immense pride for our states and communities and central to the dreams of millions of young people and their families. In a society where knowledge and credentials are essential for success, higher education offers the best chance for a bright future. For students without powerful family resources, it is often the only chance to securely arrive in the middle class. ...

About the Contributors

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pp. 291-298


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pp. 299-302

E-ISBN-13: 9780791481233
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791468630
Print-ISBN-10: 0791468631

Page Count: 314
Illustrations: 35 tables, 28 figures
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: SUNY series, Frontiers in Education

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Hispanic Americans -- Education (Higher) -- California.
  • Discrimination in higher education -- California.
  • Universities and colleges -- California -- Admission
  • African Americans -- Education (Higher) -- California.
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