College Board/National Journal Poll

Skillfully Climbing the Ladder

When it comes to education or skills training, blacks and Hispanics are most likely to believe that more learning will boost their careers and livelihoods.

MIAMI - JUNE 16: Heng Lin (L), originally from China and Jose Bolano, orginally from Cuba, learn how to speak English in class at the English Center June 16, 2006 in Miami, Florida. The school holds adult education classes that include English language classes for people who have immigrated to the United States. U.S. President George W. Bush recently said, ?Part of the greatness of America is that we've been able to help assimilate people into our society... And part of that assimilation process is English. I believe this: If you learn English, and you're a hard worker, and you have a dream, you have the capacity from going from picking crops to owning the store, or from sweeping office floors to being an office manager.? (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
National Journal
Stephanie Czekalinsk
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Stephanie Czekalinsk
Nov. 13, 2013, midnight

Blacks and His­pan­ics are more likely than whites to be­lieve that their ca­reers could be­ne­fit from more edu­ca­tion or skills train­ing. The new Col­lege Board/Na­tion­al Journ­al Next Amer­ica Poll shows that Amer­ic­ans’ at­ti­tudes on edu­ca­tion split along ra­cial lines, with minor­it­ies much more op­tim­ist­ic about the ef­fects of fur­ther aca­dem­ic study or skills train­ing on their own ca­reers.

A small ma­jor­ity of whites, 52 per­cent, said they be­lieved their ca­reers would be­ne­fit from “ad­di­tion­al skill train­ing or a fur­ther aca­dem­ic cre­den­tial,” com­pared with nearly three-quar­ters (73 per­cent), of non­whites. Among minor­it­ies, His­pan­ics were the most op­tim­ist­ic: 79 per­cent said more train­ing or edu­ca­tion would boost their ca­reers. Sev­enty per­cent of blacks, and 63 per­cent of Asi­ans said the same.

The res­ults high­light a di­ver­ging world­view among those liv­ing in the U.S. based on race, with minor­it­ies more op­tim­ist­ic re­gard­ing the eco­nomy, their per­son­al fin­an­cial situ­ations, and even the value of col­lege.

The res­ults are also not­able as an­oth­er budget de­bate looms and law­makers from both parties, rep­res­ent­ing in­creas­ingly po­lar­ized con­stitu­en­cies, pre­pare to pri­or­it­ize spend­ing. Minor­it­ies are more likely than whites to be­lieve that spend­ing more on edu­ca­tion would do more than tax cuts to im­prove the eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances of their com­munit­ies, the poll showed.

Those without col­lege de­grees were more likely than their more-edu­cated peers to say that more train­ing or an­oth­er aca­dem­ic cre­den­tial would be­ne­fit them pro­fes­sion­ally. Nearly two-thirds (65 per­cent) of those without a four-year de­gree thought they’d see a bump pro­fes­sion­ally from more edu­ca­tion, com­pared with 55 per­cent of those with a de­gree.

But even among those without a four-year de­gree, the ra­cial di­vide per­sists. Whites without a col­lege de­gree were sig­ni­fic­antly less likely to be­lieve they’d get a boost from more edu­ca­tion or train­ing than non­whites with the same level of edu­ca­tion. Only 51 per­cent of whites without a col­lege de­gree be­lieved their ca­reers would be­ne­fit, com­pared with 75 per­cent of non­whites, the poll shows.

Res­ults also showed that work­ers with col­lege de­grees were more likely to say they fre­quently used the skills and know­ledge gained from their edu­ca­tion on the job than those without a col­lege de­gree. Nearly two-thirds (73 per­cent) of col­lege-edu­cated work­ers said they de­ployed their edu­ca­tion at work. Slightly less than half (49 per­cent) of those without de­grees said the same.

On this ques­tion, re­spond­ents di­vided along edu­ca­tion­al lines rather than by race. Whites and non­whites with four-year de­grees were nearly as likely to say they used their edu­ca­tions fre­quently on the job: 73 per­cent and 75 per­cent re­spect­ively, com­pared with 50 per­cent of whites and 47 per­cent of non­whites without a de­gree who said the same.

The Col­lege Board/Na­tion­al Journ­al Next Amer­ica Poll, con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al, sur­veyed 1,272 adults ages 18 and older from Oct. 14-24, in Eng­lish and Span­ish, through land­lines and cell phones. It in­cludes over­samples of 245 Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans, 229 His­pan­ics, and 107 Asi­an-Amer­ic­ans; the poll has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.9 per­cent­age points for the over­all sample, with lar­ger er­ror mar­gins for the sub­groups. The poll is one com­pon­ent of Nation­al Journ­al’s Next Amer­ica pro­ject, which ex­am­ines how chan­ging demo­graphy is chan­ging the na­tion­al agenda.

Second in a five-part series. Click here to down­load the topline res­ults from the poll and ac­cess in your down­load folder.

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