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. 
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Sophie Quinton
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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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