I was very pleased to read the editorial titled "Commitment on the Campuses" (Dec. 11), which dealt with the educational achievement of minority students in California.
As the director of this office, which devotes itself primarily to encouraging a greater number of Hispanic students to attend a post-secondary institution, and as a member of the Education Task Force of the Hispanic Volunteer Council of United Way, I was very glad to see The Times paying attention to this problem, which is the No. 1 priority for the Hispanic community in the nation.
Through efforts like the Office of Hispanic Programs, USC has assumed a leadership role in the area of minority student early intervention. For example, our Hispanic Students Speakers Bureau reaches more than 6,000 local students with its workshops on how to prepare for college each year. We also maintain a registry of future Hispanic college students, a mailing list of more than 15,000 Hispanics, primarily in the 8th, 9th and 10th grades. All registered students receive motivating mailings on college readiness until they graduate from senior high school. These are just two of our programs.
Through our work during the past three years, we have found that "minority recruitment" programs must begin in the 8th grade, or earlier--colleges cannot wait until the 11th and 12th grades to reach this growing market. We have also found that the programs that work best are partnerships that involve students, parents, educators in K-12 and in post-secondary levels, members of community organizations and corporate leaders.
This is a problem that must be solved by the whole community, not just by the public schools and colleges and universities.
Director, Hispanic Programs