College prep declined for Black, Latino students in LA during pandemic, report says

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It's no surprise the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow to educators, families, and students. A new report looks at the impact on college preparation and enrollment, particularly for Black and Latino students in Los Angeles.

"We need to consistently learn about how our students are doing how our systems are doing," said Ana Ponce, executive director of Great Public Schools Now.

The report by the Campaign for College Opportunity found that in 2020, roughly 54% of Latino students and 46% of Black students completed the courses required for UC and CSU eligibility known as "A through G."

That was a steep decline over the year before," said Vikash Reddy, primary researcher and author of "The State of Higher Education for Latinx and Black Angelenos."

While both groups have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the report stresses there is still an equity gap.

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"The percentage of Black and Latino students meeting the A through G requirement dropped during the pandemic. White students actually increased," said Ponce. "That gap really got wider. And that's, that's alarming to us. And we need to understand why," Ponce told Eyewitness News.

The data also shows that during the pandemic, first-time student enrollment at L.A. community colleges dropped for Black and Latino students, 40% and 32% respectively.

There were some areas of improvement including graduations among Black and Latino students who transfer to Cal State Los Angeles. "Latinx students are graduating in two years and four years at rates that are equal or above their white peers. And the gap for Black students to their peers has also closed," said Reddy.

The report issued recommendations for high schools, colleges and universities and the state, including supporting students and families to prepare for and complete A through G requirements.

"Oftentimes, we miss that opportunity to truly engage families and caregivers to partner with their children on this journey," Ponce said.
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