by B.J. on 6/18/2004 08:48:00 AM 0 comments Print this post

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Access for All: Restore Funding to California's Higher Education Outreach Programs

University of California and California State University Outreach Programs Are Necessary
Who's affected?

An E-Mail first and then my own commentary.

(Take Action Here)

UC and Cal State outreach programs try to reach out and provide opportunities to three groups of students:

Students from lower-income families
Students who attend low-performing schools
Students who are the first in their families to attend college
Many, but not all, of these students are African American, Latino, and Native American, groups underrepresented on California campuses. Poverty, attendance at a low-performing school, and being the first in your family to attend college are all strong barriers to preparing adequately for the competitive admissions process. A severe shortage of guidance counselors in California's schools exacerbates the challenges these students face.

Do the outreach programs work?

Yes. UC and CSU outreach programs are currently providing tutoring, academic enrichment, and guidance to 85,000 California students in grades K-12. Many of these students go on to UC or CSU campuses. 35.8% of African American and 46.6% of Latino students who enrolled as freshman at a UC campus last year had participated in a UC outreach program.

Are the outreach programs costly?

No. UC and CSU outreach programs have a high impact at a low cost. These programs are projected to cost $110 million over the next year and a half. This is a tiny fraction of our higher education budget. The programs were already cut by $46.6 million last year.

How do the outreach programs make a difference to individual students?

Maria Robles, 17, attends Pittsburg High School in the Bay Area. Because of her participation in the Puente Project, she learned about admissions to UC and about the campuses themselves. She plans to attend the University of California.
Carla Mena, a UC Berkeley senior, reports that she would not be at UC Berkeley without the outreach program she participated in. "I didn't know about other opportunities," she says.
Why do outreach programs matter for an entire university -- and for all of California?

Even the conservative U.S. Supreme Court recognized this year that the benefits of diversity "are not theoretical but real, as major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today's increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints."

Finally, California benefits when qualified students who would otherwise miss the chance are given the opportunity to achieve.

What I Say (Just in Case You Might Care)

You are more prepared for college when you're white, from the suburbs and not from some impoverished neighborhood.

Take a look at the difference between Crenshaw High School in South Central Los Angeles (infamous epicenter of the Los Angeles Riots) or "South Los Angeles" full of "minorities" vs. San Marino High in a super-Republican white and Asian suburb of Los Angeles in just their web pages.

At first glance, Crenshaw looks like they're trying to empower their students while San Marino is trying to prepare their students for futures in colleges and careers from the start.

In it's first page, Crenshaw tries to stir up school pride by saying "we're" number one. Then you click on enter, and are taken to their page, with their Cougar logo and motto "striving for excellence" plastered underneath that logo. Beneath the motto and logo is a picture of a handful of predominantly black and brown students and one white guy. All this evokes feelings of solidarity and unity as some kind of success.

Meanwhile, San Marino shows off their building and blueness, casually stating their excellence. There are barely any pictures of the students, and when they are it's because they somehow got in the way of the luxurious, pretty facilities.

Another major and THE striking difference between the two is that Crenshaw talks about simple "graduation requirements" under the News Section while yuppy San Marino is all about "college" in their career center page.

Now, gee I wonder why it's like that.

Maybe because it's tough in a neighborhood like South Central Los Angeles ? And they're trying to empower them to survive ? Survival sure as hell isn't an issue in that nice lil Republican town. Their issues are fat white kid bullies pushing you over for lunch or something, not gang members with knives (I admit that those are my own stereotypes and imaginations, but that's likely to be a stereotype from the regular American. And I'm trying to bring you into that situation)

More opinions of Crenshaw High

More opinions of San Marino High

Now in college this is what the handful of these kids do.

I know some people from crappy neighborhoods and low-performing schools who started out engineering but have since switched to less practical subjects such as sociology. The reason they have switched has largely been because the math is way too hard in college. They didn't learn how to prepare straight out of their low-performing school. They thought "studying" meant one hour and be done with it like in high school when it actually meant a prostitution of yourself to your work for 10 hours a day like I learned in my ritzy yuppy private high school education.

Outreach programs at least help to let these kids know what's up. It won't completely stop all failing, but at least it helped let these kids know what they're getting into. Heh, I know it helped welcome at least one Latina girl who cried because the Filipino Student Association's outreach was so touching. Outreach gives them folks an immediate support system.

Groups and support systems like that in such an individualistic society are probably something hard for white America in general to understand. The most moderate of folks think its so easy to turn off all color and that we minorities ought to assimilate (why do we adapt to their culture anyway ?). Even the most liberal of white folks have trouble comprehending because they're all plentiful and can thus easily ignore their histories (while "minorities'" heritages and practices are always put in question), the white guy thing to do is to be "unique." They try and be "unique" on their own, especially on the largely liberal UCSC campus. Being unique is great and all, but minorities come from a different spectrum in which they are already unique, already exoticized to the point where it becomes fuckin' annoying.

Basically, outreach weclomes and helps kids get a feel for the surrounding environment and enables them to make necessary adjustments in their minds that they wouldn't get if they just plugged themselves into this white and Asian (and I don't mean the dark ones) wave of craziness called the UC and CSU systems.



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