Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Hispanic/Latino Education Policy Forum
Irvine, CA

(Introduction and Answers to Five Panel Questions)


Thank you for that introduction, Sara (Lundquist), and thanks to Santa Ana College for hosting us. I also want to express my gratitude to the Kellogg Foundation for the ENLACE initiative.

The CSU takes pride in offering access to excellence. It is one of the most diverse higher education institutions in the country, with 370,000 students, 23 campuses, and six off-campus centers.

  • Our minority enrollment is 53 percent, more than twice the national average for 4-year public universities.
  • Our Fall 2000 Hispanic enrollment was 23.8 percent.
  • Our graduating class of 2000 included 10,168 Hispanic graduates.
  • CSU campuses account for 13 of the top 40 universities in terms of baccalaureate degrees awarded to Hispanics.
  • Earlier this year, the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education selected 19 CSU campuses as "Publishers Picks" -- universities that offer solid opportunities for Hispanic students.

That said, we are constantly looking for new ways to reach the many students who could benefit from higher education. We have developed an extensive network of partnerships with K-12 schools, with the intent of helping more students become better knowledgeable and prepared for college.

  • We have focused on helping students understand what they need to do to prepare for college.
  • We have launched a comprehensive outreach effort to assist the California high schools that send us the most students needing remediation.
  • We are improving the quality of our teacher education. We prepare about 60 percent of the state's teachers and half its K-12 administrators.
  • We're trying to adapt our programs to attract and prepare more high-quality educators who look like the students they are teaching.
  • We are spreading the word about California's new Cal Grant program, which essentially creates a financial aid entitlement program based upon need.

I look forward to continuing this conversation with Tom (Nussbaum) and Alex (Saragoza) about how our institutions can all work together on these issues.

Question 1: What are the unique strengths of your system, relative to supporting the participation and success of Hispanic/Latino students?

First, as I already mentioned, ours is a university that is rich in diversity. Other important attributes include:

Accessibility/Proximity to Population Centers: Fifty-six percent of Californians live within 10 miles of a CSU campus. The CSU specializes in flexible programs that allow students to pursue degrees in the evening, on weekends, and from a distance.

Affordability: At $1,428 per academic year, CSU has the lowest system-wide fees of any four-year public university in the country. The CSU's system-wide student fees are 10 percent lower than in 1996.

Outreach: The CSU has an extensive network of collaborations with K-12 schools, especially with those schools sending us the most students needing remedial education. In many cases, the students for whom English is a second language need some kind of remedial English language assistance.

Articulation with Community Colleges: California's Master Plan for Higher Education directs the CSU to make admitting community college transfer students a priority. For every first-time freshman we admit, two transfer students are admitted.

Mission: We are a teaching institution that is student-focused. Our professors are in the classroom, teaching courses and supporting students. Our faculty and staff members put the needs of students first.

Question 2: What policy issues are you working on that will significantly impact Latino students?

First, I want to mention the fact that we have several important partnerships with other segments of higher education. Along with the UC, we are working to provide high-quality professional development in mathematics, English, and technology for California's teachers. We have also signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the community colleges, through which we have agreed to improve articulation and to increase by five percent annually the number of students who are eligible to transfer from community colleges to the CSU.

Our other important efforts include:

K-12 Outreach:

  • Helping high school teachers to understand and align their curriculum with CSU requirements.
  • Helping teachers develop more effective English and math teaching methods.
  • Providing trained CSU tutors to work with high school students.
  • Distributing 150,000 "steps-to-college" posters in Spanish and English.
  • Participating in federally funded GEAR-UP programs to help disadvantaged middle school students prepare for college.
  • Reaching out to the community through community service learning efforts.

Teacher Education:

  • Many of our campuses are located in urban neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations.
  • Large numbers of children from these neighborhoods come to CSU campuses such as CSU Hayward, CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Los Angeles, and CSU Long Beach, and become the first college graduates in their families.
  • Many of these students enter teacher preparation programs, become credentialed, and return to teach in their original neighborhoods.
  • These programs focus on preparing teachers who are motivated and well prepared to face the challenges that such schools often provide.
  • Example - At Cal Poly Pomona, the WIN-WIN Internship program recruits and prepares teachers specifically for minority and multilingual classrooms. Candidates work in targeted classrooms and receive on-site mentoring from experienced teachers.

Question 3: What weaknesses in your system have yet to be addressed to improve the success of this important student group?

College Preparedness: There is still a gap between what high schools are teaching and what our universities expect students to know. We need to emphasize the basics, especially reading, writing, and general English language skills.

We also need to start this work earlier: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) "Report Card" issued last week showed that only 16 percent of Hispanic fourth-graders read at or above proficient levels.

Community College Articulation: The community college transfer process is still not as smooth as it needs to be. Students needlessly duplicate efforts and spend time tangled in bureaucracy. This is costly to students and the state.

Awareness of College Affordability: Many talented students may still think they cannot afford college. California has a ground-breaking new financial aid program, the Cal Grant program, which essentially grants an entitlement based upon need. There is simply not enough awareness yet of this program.

Continuing Need for High-Quality Teachers: A recent EdSource report on California's teaching workforce highlighted the need for more qualified teachers in California's schools, especially in low-performing schools that serve predominantly poor and minority students. We need to recruit more high-quality teachers for these schools.

Question 4: How might we begin to engage those issues?

College Preparedness:

We need to:

  • Expand our efforts to reach out to K-12 schools.
  • Do a better job of explaining our standards.
  • Stress the importance of teaching reading, writing, and language skills in high school.
  • Emphasize the importance of teaching "real" math and teaching algebra in middle school.
  • Make sure that college students get the remedial education courses they need as soon as possible.

Community College Articulation: We need to keep working with the community colleges to align our requirements and ease the transfer process. The CSU is looking at an effort to align our universities on a semester calendar (some are on quarter calendars) in order to ease the transfer process.

Awareness of College Affordability: We need to keep up the effort to get the word out about Cal Grants and other financial aid. We need to bring financial aid information in to middle schools, when students are first hearing about college, so they know that college is achievable and affordable.

High-Quality Teachers: We need to keep up our recruitment efforts like CalTeach, and we need to expand efforts like the Governor's Teaching Fellowships that help potential teachers earn their credentials and then teach in low-performing schools.

Question 5: What successful efforts or promising practices do you see today as models for expansion or replication?

GEAR-UP grants: Ten of our campuses are currently working with federal GEAR-UP program grants (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). This program partners middle schools with universities to provide disadvantaged students and their families the support they need to prepare for college. These kinds of outreach programs do great work for the students that need this kind of help the most.

CalStateTEACH: This program gives elementary school teachers who hold emergency permits an opportunity to earn their full credentials without leaving their jobs. It combines independent study with online support using Internet, video, and print materials. It also offers mentoring and support from qualified faculty at CSU campuses.

The program has enrolled 800 participants, and graduated its first 133 teachers this spring. We now need to think about how we can get more teachers interested in this program.

Governor's Teaching Fellowships: This teaching program, administered by the CSU, funded 250 potential teachers this year and will fund 1,000 each year from now on. Successful applicants will be awarded $20,000 fellowships for one-year full-time enrollment in a post-baccalaureate teacher education program.

After receiving a credential, participants will be expected to teach at least four years in a low-performing school (lower half of State Academic Performance Index rankings).


As President Clinton said last summer - "The choices and decisions we make about Hispanic education in the U.S. today are choices we make about the future of the United States itself."

California is out ahead of the rest of the country with its changing demographics. Eventually our country will start to look more and more like California.

The rest of the country will be watching closely to see how we address these educational issues.

We need to keep reaching out to the community and building more partnerships. We need to create awareness and preparedness for higher education among more Latino students. And we need to keep building high quality into our educational system along every step of the way.

I hope that we can continue to work together to build on the strong momentum we already have. Thank you very much.

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