Friday, November 11, 2011

Hispanic graduation rates up at UNM

I read with interest, any stories about educational institutions that claim increased performance by minority students. I read them with a preconceived notion that minority status doesn't have a direct influence on performance.

Minority students carry baggage that can be tied to race. For example, minority students are more likely to be poor, and poverty does have an effect on the likelihood of success. But, it is the student's poverty that is operating, not their race.

If you read the article in the Journal this morning, link. you will find UNM's race specific interventions are not race specific at all;

"UNM’s efforts to better engage Hispanic students include programs that identify academically at-risk, first-generation college students, create specialized curriculums (sic) for them and help them navigate their freshmen year, when the highest number of students drop out."
Which of these interventions apply only to Hispanics?

Which students of any race would not benefit from identification as at risk, specialized curricula, and emotional support?

One wonders, if we just started paying individual attention to students and their individual problems (as opposed to grouping them arbitrarily and applying group remedies), wouldn't they all succeed at higher rates?

Likely we will never find out because there's money to be made in establishing and staffing programs that cater to "minority" students, one minority at a time. You can create an office of equity and inclusion and pay a hundred grand a year for a Vice President of Equity and Inclusion (for minorities) to head it up.

The need is to stop looking at students in groups of anything, and focus our attention instead on individual students and their individual strengths and weaknesses, and then take advantage of the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses individually.

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