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Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
Latino Strategy Session
Los Angeles, CA
August 19, 2005

Thank you all for taking the time to discuss how we can develop successful educational strategies for Latinos and all Californians.

Thanks to Monica Lozano and the Alliance for Better Communities (ABC), and to Harry Pachon and the Thomas Rivera Policy Institute for your work in putting together this event. And a very special thanks to Cal State L.A. and President James Rosser for hosting us here at the Roybal Institute.

Last fall the California State University released a report on the systemwide impact of the university system. The report gave us solid evidence to show that the CSU has a major impact on California and its citizens.

The CSU's direct economic impact on the state of California is enormous-$7.46 billion. The CSU sustains more than 207,000 jobs in California, and it generates more than $760 million a year in state and local annual taxes.

All told, California reaps more than a four-fold benefit from every dollar the state invests in the CSU system. Few other public entities can make that claim.

The Latino community has been an integral part of the California State University from the very beginning. From the 1960's and 70's to today, the CSU has and continues to be the university of choice for Latino students. In fact, we are the pipeline for Latino professionals with college degrees in all fields.

Currently the CSU is the largest university system in the country - and the most diverse. Our minority student enrollment is more than 53 percent, and our Latino student enrollment is 21 percent.

Among our 23 campuses, 11 have attained Hispanic-Serving Institution status. And 19 of our campuses are among Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education's annual "Top 100" for serving Latino students.

In 2003/04 - the most recent year for graduate statistics - we granted degrees to more than 14,000 Latino students.

So why are we here today?

As California's Latino population continues to grow, we are committed to increasing Latino students' college preparedness.

The real challenge is for Latino students - and all groups, for that matter - to have proportional representation in the eligibility pool.

Right now we are getting close but not quite close enough. In 2003, according to CPEC, Latinos made up 34 percent of all California high school graduates, but only 16 percent were eligible for admission to the CSU. (In other words, out of a pool of 121,418 Latino graduates, only 19,427 of those students were eligible for the CSU.)

A goal of ours is to expand the pool of eligible Latino student and increase their graduation rates. That's why we are making outreach commitments in three key areas:

1. Community Service Outreach
The CSU is pledging to launch a community service-learning program through which CSU student ambassadors deliver college information to students in three pilot school districts.

We will carry out this program through a generous $450,000 grant from Sallie Mae, through the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute. The CSU student ambassadors will offer one-on-one counseling - particularly to immigrant, low-income or underrepresented minority students - on how to prepare for college and overcome financial barriers.

They will also deliver the CSU poster, which offers a grade-by-grade checklist for parents and students from 6th through 12th grades on what they need to do to prepare for college.

2. Implementation of A-G Requirements
We are committed to assisting in implementation of the A-G requirements by helping to prepare more teachers who are able to teach those classes. We will use a budget allocation in the governor's math-science teaching initiative to focus on preparing teachers who can teach to those standards.

We also are going to evaluate our teacher education programs to measure new teachers' ability to teach the A-G curriculum. Plus we will continue to be advocates for implementing an A-G requirement in the Los Angeles schools and beyond.

In May, we joined with the Alliance for a Better Community to support their effort to establish the A-G curriculum as a requirement for graduation at the L.A.U.S.D. We sent a letter of support to the Los Angeles Board of Education; participated in a civic leaders' press conference; and supported the student rally requesting adoption of the A-G curriculum.

CSU Northridge President Jolene Koester also testified before the Los Angeles Board of Education on behalf of the CSU on the day the board made the decision to adopt the curriculum.

We will continue to be outspoken public supporters of this effort as we work with ABC and others around this table to ensure that the implementation of A-G at L.A.U.S.D. results in more Latino and African-American students being eligible for a four-year university.

3. The EAP, or 11th Grade Test
We are committed to making the 11th and 12th grade experiences meaningful and productive for students.

To that end, we are continuing to seek input from schools and community leaders on how we can encourage more 11th-graders to take the Early Assessment Program (EAP) test and how we can help 12th-graders improve on their areas of academic weakness before they get to college.

We have designed programs for both teachers and students to help them make the most of the final high school years.

For teachers, we have a program to help create class plans and content for the 12th grade.
For students, we offer free faculty-led diagnostic programs in math and writing.

We also created and to help students make sure that they are ready for CSU math and English placement tests.

We will include information about those sites in our community service outreach program.

Aside from these specific commitments, we will look to you for suggestions on how we can improve students' eligibility. I hope that you will share your thoughts with us today on:
  • What are the biggest obstacles we face in helping students become eligible?
  • What can we do to make sure they are better prepared for college?
  • How can we help them make the transition from college to the workplace?
I also hope that you will help us brainstorm on more ways that the CSU and its campuses can partner with your communities. We hope that this can be just the beginning of an ongoing discussion of how we can reach more students.

Now I'd like to introduce our next speaker - Monica Lozano has been a tremendous leader in educational policy through her newpaper, La Opinion, through her service on the University of California and the University of Southern California boards, and through The Alliance for Better Communities, known as ABC.

It is an honor to have her with us here today. Welcome, Monica.

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