Cavazos Urges School-College Links Among Goals for Higher Education

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Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos has proposed a set of goals for higher education in the 1990's that includes increases in the graduation rates of minorities, greater foreign-language proficiency among students, and more teaching of higher-order thinking skills.

In a Jan. 19 address to the annual meeting of the American Council on Education here, the Secretary also urged colleges and universities to lend a hand in the effort to restructure elementary and secondary education.

"You have already created the world's finest system of higher education," Mr. Cavazos said. "With your help, all of us working together, we can regain our international leadership in elementary and secondary education."

The Secretary's proposed goals are separate from the higher-education goals being considered by the nation's governors and the White House as part of the follow-up to last fall's education summit.

In his speech, Mr. Cavazos suggested six goals that the higher-education community should work toward by the year 2000:

  • To reduce by one-half the gap in degree-completion rates between black and Hispanic students, on the one hand, and white and Asian students, on the other.

Currently, 55 percent of black students and 51 percent of Hispanic students who enter higher education receive no associate or bachelor's degree, even after 12 years. This compares with 33 percent for all other students, the Secretary said.

  • To assure that half of all bachelor's-degree recipients have learned a foreign language. Only 10 percent of college students now learn a foreign language, Mr. Cavazos said.

  • To ensure that all degree recipients are proficient in college-level science and mathematics. The Secretary said that fewer than half of all bachelor's-degree recipients take more than two science courses, and 20 percent take no college math.

  • To ensure that graduating students are able to write coherently and demonstrate a basic knowledge of world history, geography, and culture.

  • To increase by 25 percent the number of college graduates completing doctoral programs in the arts, sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology. The number of women, blacks, American Indians, and Hispanics in that group should also double by the year 2000, the Secretary said.

  • To make sure that all students leaving institutions of higher education possess higher-order thinking skills.

Mr. Cavazos also asked college officials to emphasize the recruitment of minorities and women.

"The numbers are indeed insufficient to prepare for the society that we will live in in the year 2000," he said. "I recognize, of course, that this shortage of minorities in higher education is exacerbated by many difficulties in elementary and secondary education, and that is one of the other reasons why I believe you must play an active role in correcting those problems."

The ace has since 1982 focused attention on the need for improving the status of minority students in postsecondary education, officials said.

Vol. 9, Issue 19, Page 19

Published in Print: January 31, 1990, as Cavazos Urges School-College Links Among Goals for Higher Education
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