African-American and Latino Conceptualizations of the Role and Value of Community Colleges: Results from a Study of High School Students and Counselors

By Outcalt, Charles L.; Tobolowsky, Barbara et al. | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview

African-American and Latino Conceptualizations of the Role and Value of Community Colleges: Results from a Study of High School Students and Counselors


Outcalt, Charles L., Tobolowsky, Barbara, McDonough, Patricia M., Academic Exchange Quarterly


Introduction

Both national political contexts and more localized patterns of educational access make studying the role of community colleges in the educational pathways of California's African American and Latino communities vital for those interested in equity within higher education. Community colleges play a disproportionately large role in the educational pathways of Latino and African American students. Nationally, students under-represented in higher education in general are over-represented in community colleges. Although community colleges enroll only 39% of all students in higher education, they enroll nearly half of all minority students. However, compared to their White counterparts, disproportionately fewer African American and Latino students use the community colleges to transfer to four-year institutions (Cohen and Brawer, 1996). At the same time, recent changes in admissions policies that restrict access to four-year institutions for minority students, especially in California, Florida, Washington State, and those areas affected by the Hopwood decision, further raise the importance of community colleges as potential bridges to the baccalaureate for members of under-represented communities.

National enrollment patterns hold true within California, where both African Americans and Latinos constitute a significantly higher proportion of community college enrollments than their presence in the general population would suggest. Orfield's 1988 study of college access on the part of under-represented students in the Los Angeles basin remains a highly informative examination of the college-going experience of African American and Latinos in southern California (Orfield, 1988). Orfield found significant differences in the college-going patterns of Los Angeles area students. While 70% of African Americans and 73% of Latinos attended community colleges, only 63% of Whites and 54% of Asian Americans did so. Success rates (as measured by the obtaining of the Associates degree and transfer to four-year institutions) differed markedly as well, with precipitous drops in the number of Latino and African American students completing community college, as measured by the above indicators, between 1976 and 1985. Transfer figures reveal a similar story: in 1984, 3.3% of community college transfers to the University of California system were African American, and 9.6% were Latino (Orfield, 1988). Clearly, community colleges play a vital yet uncertain role in the educational careers of African Americans and Latinos both nationally and in the Los Angeles area.

For some educational theorists and researchers, community colleges are an essential bridge between high school and the rewards of post-secondary education, especially for students often under-represented in four-year colleges and universities (Cohen and Brawer, 1996). For others, community colleges serve as a detour at best and as a dead end at worst for the educational plans of under-represented groups (Clark 1960, Brint and Karabel, 1989). The current study, which examines the perceptions of community colleges held by a selected group of Los Angeles area African American and Latino high school students and their counselors, attempts to contextualize the debate on the utility of community colleges for minority students. It is our hope that the current study, by offering an in-depth examination of the attitudes of stakeholders in California's higher education system, will yield new insights on the complicated process of college-going on the part of African American and Latino students.

Theoretical Framework and Research Questions

Pierre Bourdieu's theories offer an integrated framework for understanding how rational, thinking, and goal-directed individuals pursue their interests yet manage to create and recreate social structures. Bourdieu's concepts of cultural capital, habitus, and field analysis can be used to illuminate the role of community colleges for under-represented students in their social mobility. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

African-American and Latino Conceptualizations of the Role and Value of Community Colleges: Results from a Study of High School Students and Counselors
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.