California Segregated Community Colleges

The Golden State appears to maintain essentially segregated community colleges. There’s one system for white students and another for blacks and Latinos. According to an article by Jamaal Abdul-Alim in Diverse Issues in Higher Education:

Researchers found [that] while nearly three-fourths of all Latino and two-thirds of all Black students who enroll in a post-secondary institution in California go to a community college; in 2010 both groups collectively represented only 20 percent of all transfers to four-year institutions.

This is due… to the fact that the pathways to the baccalaureate are being subjected to a segregated system in which a handful of community colleges that primarily serve White, Asian and middle-class students are responsible for the vast majority of transfers in the state.

But the actual nature of the problem remains unclear. Are black and Hispanic students attending lower-quality community colleges? Why are the successful transfer rates at such institutions so low? Maybe it’s just California’s communities that are segregated.

Advocacy organizations have found similar situations, where institutions primarily enroll students of one race, despite being located in a diverse state, at the public colleges of Georgia and Maryland.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer