New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof believes in the power of education.
From early childhood through adulthood, few other institutions hold the power to transform lives so completely. Yet as the gap between the haves and have-nots grows wider in America, more and more families struggle to tap into those benefits, Kristof told attendees Friday during the keynote address at NACAC’s 74th National Conference in Salt Lake City.
“Colleges are a great public good, and yet too often, that public good is largely reserved for kids of the modern educational aristocracy,” Kristoff told the roughly 6,000 attendees at this year’s annual gathering of college admission professionals. “…At 25 institutions around the country, including five Ivy League institutions, more kids come from families in the top 1 percent than from the bottom 60 percent — that is a failure of that public good. We can do better.”
The statistics are stark when it comes to college access and success for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
On some reservations, the college-going rate for high school grads is as low as 18 percent, according to data from the American Indian College Fund. And US Census Bureau data shows that only 14 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives hold college degrees.
Yet when given support and curriculum that affirms their culture, Native students excel, Carrie Billy, president and CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), told attendees Thursday at NACAC’s 74th National Conference in Salt Lake City.
“A lot of our students don’t know who they are,” she said. “They’ve been through the K-12 system — a lot of them on reservations — and still haven’t learned their culture and their identity.”
As part of NACAC’s continuing commitment to fairness, equity, and professionalism, the association is dedicated to promoting cultural fluency in the college admission counseling profession.
Under the leadership of the Inclusion, Access, and Success (IAS) Committee, the next stage of NACAC’s work on this topic will consist of training sessions at the national conference that will focus on initiating and sustaining cultural fluency conversations in the workplace.
During a recent Facebook Live broadcast, NACAC’s conference team offered tips to help you make the most out of your time at the nation’s preeminent education and networking event for college admission counselors .
Students across the country are now back in school, and for many families, conversations about life after high school are just beginning.
#NACACreads author Ned Johnson has some advice for parents as they help guide their children through the college search and selection process. Johnson and William Stixrud, who together penned The Self-Driven Child, shared tips in a recent article published by U.S. News & World Report.
One takeaway for moms and dads: Resist the urge to micromanage.