College Board/National Journal Poll

Black and Hispanic Adults Are More Optimistic About Quality of Local Schools

Poll finds minorities — particularly those without college degrees — are most likely to believe local schools prepare kids for college.

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 23: Young students attend the American Heart Association's Teaching Garden Plant Day at Moss Haven Elementary School on March 23, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. 
Getty Images For The American He
Sophie Quinton
April 15, 2014, 6:31 a.m.

Col­lege-achieve­ment dis­par­it­ies are well doc­u­mented: White and Asi­an stu­dents oc­cupy a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share of seats at the na­tion’s top col­leges and gradu­ate at high­er rates na­tion­ally than do black and His­pan­ic stu­dents.

Yet black and His­pan­ic adults are more likely to say that schools in their area are do­ing a good job pre­par­ing chil­dren for col­lege, ac­cord­ing to the latest Col­lege Board/Na­tion­al Journ­al Next Amer­ica poll. And Minor­ity adults without col­lege de­grees are even more likely to have con­fid­ence in loc­al schools.

Na­tion­wide, about 59 per­cent of stu­dents seek­ing a bach­el­or’s de­gree for the first time gradu­ate with­in six years, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tion­al Cen­ter for Edu­ca­tion Stat­ist­ics. But while 61.5 per­cent of white stu­dents make it to gradu­ation day with­in that time span, just 39.5 per­cent of black and 50.1 per­cent of His­pan­ic stu­dents do.

At a re­cent Na­tion­al Journ­al event, Edu­ca­tion Trust Pres­id­ent Kati Hay­cock poin­ted out that dis­par­it­ies in K-12 pre­par­a­tion are part of the prob­lem: Minor­ity stu­dents tend to be clustered in un­der-re­sourced schools in poor neigh­bor­hoods, and to be taught by less ef­fect­ive teach­ers.

The poll found that 60 per­cent of black and 64 per­cent of His­pan­ic re­spond­ents were con­fid­ent the schools their chil­dren or neigh­bor­hood chil­dren at­tend are pre­par­ing stu­dents for col­lege, com­pared with half of white re­spond­ents and 55 per­cent of Asi­an re­spond­ents.

Minor­ity adults who didn’t earn col­lege de­grees are even more op­tim­ist­ic than those who did. Sixty-one per­cent of black and 65 per­cent of His­pan­ic re­spond­ents who didn’t gradu­ate from col­lege have con­fid­ence in loc­al schools, com­pared with 54 per­cent and 49 per­cent, re­spect­ively, of adults who do hold col­lege de­grees.

For whites, the op­pos­ite was true: 47 per­cent of whites who didn’t gradu­ate from col­lege were op­tim­ist­ic about loc­al schools, com­pared with 56 per­cent of those who did gradu­ate. The sur­vey also shows that adults un­der age 50 — who are more likely to be rais­ing young chil­dren — are more likely than older adults to be­lieve that schools are pre­par­ing chil­dren for col­lege.

As for adults who identi­fy them­selves as cur­rent stu­dents, just half of those re­spond­ents be­lieve that loc­al schools pre­pare chil­dren for col­lege.

The Col­lege Board/Na­tion­al Journ­al Next Amer­ica Poll, con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al, sur­veyed 1,271 adults, in­clud­ing over­samples of Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans, His­pan­ics, and Asi­an-Amer­ic­ans, from March 18-26. The in­ter­views were con­duc­ted by land­line and cell phone in Eng­lish and Span­ish. The poll has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.9 per­cent­age points for the en­tire sample, and lar­ger mar­gins for ra­cial sub­groups.

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