Report Addresses Future of Minority Education
| Acknowledging that traditional affirmative action is a thing of the
past, faculty, students, and administrators across the country recommend
looking into increased cooperation between minority and majority
educational institutions, mentoring, and programs for the economically
disadvantaged. Minority institutions are those colleges or universities
with more than 25% underrepresented minorities in the population.
The recommendations were drawn during last summer's conference, "Steering Minority Education in the 21st Century," held in June at Rice University. A recently released report highlights key conclusions, suggestions, and solutions offered during numerous panel presentations and discussions. Attendees came to the following recommendations:
"More than 50% of kindergarteners in Texas right now are Hispanic," said conference moderator Richard Tapia, CRPC Director of Education and Human Resources and Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice. "And we see that while Hispanic and African American students do as well as others in math and science up to about grade four, there is a major decline in their achievements in middle school and high school. How well we address this concern right now determines the shape of the future for many Texans and for many Americans."
Where majority institutions exist, minority institutions are often close by, making partnerships possible. Attendees agreed that both types of institutions are necessary for educational success in the United States.
The conference was implemented by the South-Central Computational Science in Minority Institutions Consortium (SC-COSMIC). SC-COSMIC was formed in 1995 with support from the CRPC to strengthen and reform K-16 math and science education and promote computational science education and research. Members share their resources and expertise in curricula reform, interactive learning, multimedia materials, remote databases, and supercomputing.
Students and faculty members from Rice, UH-D, and Prairie View A&M University formed an initial team that played a key role in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the conference. The CRPC and the Center for Computational Sciences and Advanced Distributed Simulation provided planning assistance.
"We are grateful to the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the National Science Foundation for their recognition of the problem of minority representation and for their funding of this conference," says Aló.
For a previous CRPC newsletter about the conference, see Winter 1998 PCR, "'Steering Minority Education for the 21st Century,' an SC-COSMIC Conference to be held June 25." For a copy of the conference report, contact Lia Unrau in the Rice Office of Media Relations and Information at (713)831-4793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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