tv Discussion on the Impact of Higher Education for Minority Students CSPAN September 2, 2015 6:15pm-7:52pm EDT
they impact the future of individuals and communities in this country and we thank you for being here and for the efforts that everyone is putting on behalf of in issue. our panelists today as yesterday, will each have seven minutes to present to us based on their prior written submissions and there is a system of warning lights here just like a traffic light. green, go. yellow, that means getting ready to stop and you'll have two minutes when you see that, and red, of course, stop. we will then as commissioners ask you questions and there will be a chance to elaborate perhaps in things you were mid-sentence on and i'll try to fairly provide them an opportunity to speak with you because we want to elicit as much information as possible. we also want to let folks know that the record of this briefing will be open for the next 30 days so any of you as panelists and any of you watching today or listening has the opportunity to present your own comments so we can review those and take those into account as we prepare those
for the president and congress. so you can submit them to the u.s. commission on civil rights by either mailing them to the commission to the office of civil rights, 1331 pennsylvania avenue, that's 1331 pennsylvania avenue northwest suite 1150 washington 20425 or via email at public comments at usccr.gov. that's p-u-b-l-i-c-c-o-m-m-e-n-t-s@uscc r.gov. with that out of the way i would like to introduce and swear our panelists in and stella flores from vanderbilt university. peggy carr from the u.s. department of education and dr. james t. minor also with the u.s. department of education. will you each raise your right ha hand, please. and i ask that you swear or affirm that the information you're about to provide to us is true and accurate to the best of your believe and belief, is that
correct? >> yes. >> professor flores, please proceed. >> thank you, commissioners, for the opportunity to speak on the civil rights implications on college access, persistence and completion for underrepresented minority students in the united states. i will draw on evidence-based examples from the most rigorous studies on these topics including work my colleagues and i have conducted in texas where we utilize national as well as kindergarten through 20 student-level administrative database up database. that's k through 20. it's critical to civil rights to improve educational equity in the u.s. for all students. i argue that college completion is a function of more than the post-secondary experience and the other factor such as secondary school context and financial aid opportunity and academic preparation predict the college success. we find 61% of the college completion will be explained by pre-college characterist beings and that is before a student
ever enters college comprised of the individual, high school context and academic preparation. another 35% of the gap and racial college completion is explained by post secondary characteristics. every stage of schooling that does not give all students an equal opportunity to prepare for college has civil rights implications. therefore, being given equal opportunity to prepare for and succeed in post-secondary study is the education civil rights battle of our time. moreover, as stated by the commissioner, the consequences of not being approapriately prepared to succeed in college are costly and not only to individuals deprived of this opportunity and to local and state economies and ultimately the nation. i'll focus five key areas of underrepresented minority and low income students and they include demographic changes in the school and tped segregation levels and and the college completion gap and end with some discussion on the role of data
and understanding where the odds of college completion are most challenged. this is not on, actually. the timer is not on. >> oh, it's not? thanks for catching that. >> i will continue? >> extra minutes for honesty. >> keep going. >> more time! so let me begin with point number one, we cannot neglect that we are in an era of unprecedented demographic change across the u.s. states, but also in our public schools. the majority of all u.s. births and the majority of k through 12 public school students are now non-white. the cost of failing to prepare this population to earn a post-secondary credential has become a matter of state and academic welfare. five states have majority minority populations and 14 states have majority minority population among children under the age of 5. latinos are now the largest minority group in the nation with the two and four-year colleges and let me be clear of what this trend does and does
not represent. demographic growth simply means that there are more latino students and not that we as a nation has been more successful in enrolling the eligible high school of latinos and the real question is whether programs and policies have been more effective and if demographic growth is masking the underperformance of our nation's schools? our work in texas finds latino high school graduates are more likely to enter the workforce than they are to begin in a community college and regardless of academic preparation. next point, poverty remains a salient characteristic particularly with race among students with four-year colleges. we find 48% of hispanic students and 38% of black students are economically disadvantaged as compared to 5% of white students at four-year institutions. racial segregation continues to have harmful effects on key student outcomes. racial segregation and elementary public schools is a key factor in the racial
achievement gap as measured by differences in tax scores and our research suggests that racial segregation in high schools has an effect on college completion itself. students have different rates of participation in high school college preparation courses by race and ethic nick background which is associated with the odds of college completion. let me be clear here. academic preparation remains the most important factor in predicting the odds of college access and college completion. however, students of all racial groups do not receive the same education in math, the gateway course or trigonometry, another gateway course. black students are less likely than white and latino students to have taken a trigonometry course. that rate is 61% for white students, and 47% for black students. similar gaps remain for dual enrollment programs. college costs perceived are real
and financial aid continue to matter as gate keepers to enrollment and completion and they also may matter by race and income. more than 30 years of research indicates a financial aid particularly in the form of grants and tuitions, discounts and scholarships positively affects college enrollment. nonetheless, financial aid remains a contested issue across the states and individual institutions in the form of preferences to fund students that are less likely to exhibit need. that is, we've seen a trend in an e crease of married need. location of college is important especially for minority students. in terms of where black students are going to college, that is the community college. >> we saw them surpassing latinos attending four-year colleges. they are more likely to have
two-year colleges. no institution represents hispanics in the institution and yet we have minimal evaluation evidence on how well the hsis are doing and yet that is the place where latinos are more likely to go to college. there is substantial college completion gap between white and black students and white and latino students. the college completion gap at least in texas between white and hispanic students is 14 points. between white and black students is 21 points and what drives this gap differs by these groups. for the hispanic white group, the two key factors that drive this achievement gap is attending a high-minority high school and/or economic disadvantage. for black students while attending a high minority high school, the most critical factor with this group remains academic preparation. commissioners, improving the civil rights outcomes of all
students requires a collection of strong evidence through the form of reliable, individual level with data sources to produce the most successful and sustainable interventions the students deserve. dismantling efforts for the collection of such data is likely to lead to underresearched and ineffective policy decisions, with implications not only for disadvantaged students and also our students in the nation and we cannot afford to formulate responsible education approximately see and without strong data systems and designs. >> the demographic change highlighted here bring to life underexamined, as it relates to english owner and particularly difficult for the southwest and the southeast where students have an -- with teachers prepared to teach these
populations. thank you for the opportunity to offer this testimony. i'm happy to answer questions. >> thank you. >> you want to go next? >> good morning. >> good morning. i would like to begin with a brief description of what we do at the national center for education statistics or nces. i say this because i think it has implications for your here on the commission and for the work of all who is concerned with civil rights issues. the first federal department of education was established in 1867, and i quote, for the purpose of collecting such statistics and facts as shall show the condition of education in several states and territories, unquote. congress has legislated several mandates for nces, one that
might be of particular interest to you, we are to conduct objective and statistical activities to collect data that are impartial, clear and complete. in addition, congress has required us to play a critical role in partnering with other agencies and departments in the federal government to strengthen and to improve data quality and access, of particular note is our role in gathering the data for my brother's keeper and also more recently we are now administering the data collection for the office of civil rights within the department of education. many of the demographics you see here are interrelated. poverty, educational, attainment and other factors are linked to system and seeing as you well know, it's important to note that unless i otherwise state, however, that the outcomes and measures that i'm going to talk
about briefly today do not account or control for interrelated factors. date from a number of ncs reports surveys and assessment support the conceptual model that is shown here. in this presentation i will explore key checkpoints along the pathway of post secondary obtainment. they include, of course, access enrollment persistence and completion. so let's start with achievement gaps as one of the first access indicators here. achievement gaps for minorities and low sas students start early and they persist. >> dr. carter, your microphone just went off. >> thank you. >> let's begin with a look at some of the key trends in
academic achievement gaps. here we're looking at an achievement gap between white and plaque students. historically, black, hispanic and american indiana, lack of animative students have lower assessment scores in reading and mathematics than their white and asian peers. there are two pieces of good news included in the data that you see here and this data depict performance over time for black and white students and eighth grade students and what you see here is that the performance is improving for both groups and the distance between the performance of the two groups also known as the gap is narrowing and that is good news. while the sharp displays and the black white gap, this is also true for whites and hispanics and less true, but also true of native americans and whites and there has been a truly significant increase for asian students.
i'm going to skip this next graph in the interest of time. now we're looking at curriculum levels related to mathematics achievement within the racial ethnic groups. within each group graduate students completing a rigorous curriculum earned higher scores as an assessment of educational progress than graduates completing lower curriculum. a rigorous curriculum includes three years of english and three years of foreign language, three years of social studies and four years of mathematics and three years of science including biology, chemistry and physics. however, the completion of a rigorous curriculum did not eliminate racial ethnic gaps in nape performance as you can see here. the average scores for black and hispanic students completing a rigorous curriculum were lower than the average scores for white and asian students and this is not, of course, due to race or many other confounding factors search as the
disproportionate representation of ses or socioeconomic status among the minority status and the rigor, the true rigor of the courses they're taking and not just the title of the courses. this slide depicts gaps in advanced science course taking of the level of density within a school. the term advanced science courses refers to courses beyond introductory, biology, chemistry and physics as well as a.p. and ib science courses. density refers to the percentage of minority students within a school. the gaps you see here are larger for schools with higher density. >> as you can see here there are differences, by race ethnicity and the proficient in math and
reading and over challenging subject matter on average for 12th graders in mathematics and 26% on the students of this country and it's 7% for blacks and whistle for hispanics, for students that are being placed at residential facilities, and this is particularly true of males, and there exists an -- and the persistence is particularly complex. in this next slide here, it has increased for all races and ethnicities and this is particularly true of the hispanic students. persistence is important. as you can see here, there are a number of factors that relate to
persistence, for example, whether the student has taken credits of courses and not gone back and they're not going to get credit for them, incurring additional costs and so forth. and finally, attainment patterns resemble some of the patterns i've already discussed. we'll show this last slide here. we'll go to the next one here, overall, lower percentage of minority and low ses students obtain a bachelors or higher, however, even among higher ses students there are differences in attainment among various racial ethnic groups. so, in sum, progress has been made across the metrics that i have discussed here today, but clearly there are many challenges here. we need to improve our measures and the free and reduced price
lunch has long been used as a proxy for family income, but there have been new provisions and the allocations of eligibility and that has put a bit of a wrinkle and free and reduced price lunches for student ses status. digital data collection is also a challenge and an opportunity. so i will stop there and if there are additional questions i would be happy to answer them. >> very interesting stats. we'll definitely be delving into that. mr. minor? >> good morning mr. chairman and members of the commission. i want to thank you for the invitation to speak this morning. i am here and happy to be here on behalf of the u.s. department of education, which is a program designed to promote innovation and improvement in post-secondary education and expand access and opportunity to students from low-income families and increase college completion which, as you know,
has significant consequences for our nation. under the authorization of the higher education act of 1965 as amended, the office of post educational awards more than 4,000 new and continuation awards each year totaling over $2 billion annually. presently, the higher education program office has approximately $7.5 billion obligated in grants and intended primarily to improve college access and to strengthen the capacity of institutions to serve students more effectively. no other institution or agency in the private or non-profit sector comes close to making that kiebdz of invend of invest college access annually. the office of post-secondary education administers numerous competitive and formula-based grant programs designed to support minority serve and institutions including historically black colleges and universities and
hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges and universities and native american serving, nontribal institutions and alaskan native and native hawaiian serving institutions with native american and native american and pacific islands-serving institutions as well as historically black-serving institutions and this improves fiscal stability and are intended to strengthen institutions that serve large numbers of minority students while maintaining low per-student expenditures. these programs represent a mix of competitive and formula-based grants and are funded by congress through an annual appropriations bill. in 2015 more than $775 million was appropriated for institutional development programs and minorities serve an institution that these programs support have traditionally been underfunded and they rely on these programs for cysts such as
student services and renovation, and the purchase of educational materials and even endowment building. as of 2012, minorities enrolled in undergraduates each year. hispanics serve 50% are latino students being in 40% are all colleges. more than 50% receive pell grants compared to 31% of all students and nearly half of all students at minority-serving institutions are first-generation college students and versus 25% of those at majority institutions. as you know, and as you've heard this morning, community colleges have a particularly important role to play in providing educational and degree opportunities for minority students. approximately half of all hispanic students enrolled in post-secondary education attend two-year institutions as do a third of african-american
students and affordability and open enrollment policies are often cited as key reasons why community colleges are likely to be more appealing to students of low income backgrounds or those who may be less prepared for higher education. the office of post-secondary education also administers federal programs which serve low income generations in the educational pipeline from middle school through graduate school and you may be familiar with upper bound student support services and educational opportunity centers and while these programs do not explicitly target minority students and many participants are underrepresented groups based on 2012 and 2013 and the percentage of trio participants who were ranged from 29% of student support services programs to 38% and upper bound programs for that same reporting year, the percentage of trio participants
who were hispanic ranged from 12% and veterans were up to the post baccalaureate achievement program. many trio programs are hosted at minority-servingen stugzs including historically black colleges and universities predominantly plaque institutions and hispanic institutions and hispanic agencies, tribal colleges and tribal agencies. congress has appropriated close to $850 million for trio programs in 2015. also, on the post -- in the office of post secondary education's portfolio is gaining early awareness and readiness for undergraduate programs also known as gear up to servico horts of student students in high poverty middle schools. >> and they provide tutoring and issuing implementation of
rigorous curricula and raise an a rareness of college admission and financial aid processes for students. like trio, gear up is not specifically targeted to minori minoritity, but serves many. congress appropriated $302 million for gear up. the department believes these programs are critical for improving and increasing the number of americans who not only enters college, but also complete. as recently as 1990 as you may have heard america was number one in the world in terms of the proportion of citizens who had a college degree of post-secondary credential. according to some estimates we are now 11th and the president has been clear about the goal to once again lead the world and having the highest proportion of citizens with the post-secondary degree or credential. in order to achieve this goal we must dramatically increase degree attainment from 40% to
60% which means we need to produce 10 million additional degrees over and beyond the expected projections. this will require 3.5 million more high school graduates and 6.3 million adult learners to become college graduates. if the nation will make significant progress, two things are clear and they have innovate of opportunities that provide a post-secondary credential and we must pay particular attention to students who struggle most to earn a college degree. the college completion rates will bear particular relevance for minority students. i want to conclude by mentioning that the programs are paying attention to what the grantees are proposing to use and whether those interventions are actually
successful and increase emphasis on the grgrants has resulted fo to higher expectations for the evaluations that will be produced once the program has been implemented. we believe that these requirements will enhance the project's success and provide important information that can be used. in closing, i want to thank you for allowing me to speak today in scheduling this briefing on a critically important topic. thank you. >> thank you, dr. minor. would you like to open the questioning? >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> this is for professor flores and dr. minor. professor flores, you said that pre-college characteristics levels of poverty, segregation
course selection, cost of education, location of the college campus and all of these factors weigh heavily on whether or not we can predict access, success and completion. did i understand that? is that a fair -- >> yes. and yet we also see large -- we also see success happening through campus-based program and as a result of federal investment in such programs as delineated by dr. minor and namely trio and gear up just to
name two. i mean, there are many others. how do you explain those two variables? >> that's a very good question. i'm glad you asked that. it basically depends on where you start measuring and where we begin our analysis is in high school. when we talk about campus-based programs we're talking about already students enrolled in college and it's the students that have shown some form of success and to try to remove selection bias, we track the students back into high school and earlier, if possible, and so i think that's where you see the disconnects and the findings and that's not to say that campus-based programs are not successful and we're talking about students who have successfully enrolled in college and my success covers the students that won't make it. >> that's an important
clarification that has enhanced my understanding of what the statistics tell us. >> dr. minor, you mentioned the critical nature of these programs that your office administers. could you talk a little bit about the measurement that suggests to you that these programs are operating as intended and you also mentioned that they were underfunded. what does that mean? >> well, as the office that administers the majority of grant programs that are provided to higher education institutions, i have not met a constituent yet who wouldn't -- >> doesn't believe. >> right. >> exactly. >> so, but we know some of that is measured against need. what program directors and
institutional leaders often report to us are not only the numbers of students that they're serving and the number of students that they're not able to serve because of resources and so we know that there is a tremendous need across the country and even given the size and scope of the investment that the department of education is making there are hundreds of thousands of students who are not being served due to a shortage of resources. >> you mentioned that -- you mentioned $302 million. >> for gear up. >> for gear up. that's an awful low modest amount one would think as compared to the numbers of students who might benefit from such a program. is that your testimony? >> yeah, that's an argument that could be made, between gear up alone we serve 1.3 million students across the country and if you balance that across the
students that need to be served certainly there is an argument to be made for those programs. >> these are students that are already in the case of the trio programs have already been admitted to universities, is that correct? >> some of them. so the range of programs tween gear up and trio start to serve students as early as middle school and they serve students through their time in colleges and universities and even through graduate and post-balk lariat programs. >> these are students who already indicated through performance that they have some academic merit that would suggest that they're potentially, at least college material, no? >> the eligibility requirement for participation in these programs are not based on academic merit and it is based on household income primarily andy is, no, it is not true. what the programs are intended to do is to increase the number
of percentage of low-income students and students who would be the first in their family to attend college to actually encourage them and to provide resources to them that would increase the likelihood that they would actually transition from k-12 to post-secondary institution. >> could i ask one more question, mr. chairman? >> sure. >> does your office also administer and have information regarding the seog? >> yes. yes, we do, but i would be careful to tie that program to the performance of the ones that we've discussed here this morning. >> why? >> why is that? because it's a congressionally mandated formula or some kind of formula? >> in part, but the performance of the are primarily made by the
revenue submitted by the program directors. and so it is true, but they are very distinct funds and they're very distinct programs. >> understood, but we heard testimony yesterday from a number of experts that the -- and we'll hear today later a kind of comparison that i'm wondering what you think about this. it was stated and this seog grant is a design to address the low-income populations in the colleges and the universities, right? i mean, that's what it's -- that's what it's appropriated for, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and we heard a statistic yesterday that $10 million of seog grants are appropriated to
all of the ivy league universities collectively, and -- but collectively, those ivy league universities enroll 60,000 students and i'm not clear the number of pell-eligible students, but 60,000 students. i was told, as well, however, that the california state university system which enrolls 400,000 students receives $11 million as compared to $10 million for 60,000, $11 million for 400,000 in a situation where almost half of those 400,000 students are pell eligible meaning that they're some level of low-income student, and i'm wondering -- how could that be? >> let me just make one
distinction they think will be helpful there, too. >> sure. >> there are two primary domains of grants that the department makes. one is a formula-based grant which means that receive that grant or award. the other category is discretionary or competitive. >> sure. >> meaning that applicants submit a proposal that is scored primarily by peer reviewers. so the department doesn't ar temporarily decide who the winner or loser in those competitions are. so we have a review process that scores and rates the applications. and there's no way for the department to ar temporarily dictate sort of what the composition of award winners will be for those competitions. >> so trio and gear up are -- >> trio and gearup are both competitive.
right. and this scog is the pursuant to formula. and who sets the formula? >> well the formula is established in statute and regulation. neither is something the department gets to arbitrarily change without negotiated rule making or an act of congress that change kaz the statute. >> but the rule making is done pursuant to a regulatory regime adopted by the congress, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> thanks very much. >> mr. flores, in your remarks, you mentioned that the number of latino students who are matriculating to college is going up. that's due primarily to demographics, that our population is growing so fast and quickly that by the very nature you'll see more latinos in the pipeline, but it's not necessarily attributable to any specific programs that are preparing latinos or getting them in the pipeline. it's just the population is bubbling up, so it's going to
reflect itself in those statistics for ma electricculation. is that right? >> yes, and so my main point is not to reach toward the conclusion of success without understanding that it may just be demography and not successful programming and policies. and i think while those statistics are very important because demography is very important, it's also public policy 101. don't make conclusions based on demography. >> one of our speakers was making the point that more hispanics are going to college now than whites. so what's the problem? >> as the a common misconception. >> he did say he was not an official demographer. >> i'll say. >> is he a doctor? >> i don't remember. i don't think so. dr. carr, in your statistics, you shows somehow among the various minority groups, the
asian population continues to do better in most of those, if not all of those areas of measurement. commissioner narasaki yesterday very eloquently distinguished between various subgroups of asians, and we had testimony as well from the south asian community, which is substantially underserved and underrepresented. but as commissioner narasaki said yesterday there are other communities such as the indian community and chinese community who have come here with higher educational credentials, and so their children have been able to proceed in a more successful route for the most part. does your data take account of the subgroups of asian-americans and even latinos, for that matter? >> well, the data i presented today does not differentiate between asians, the traditional reference to chinese, japanese, versus pacific islanders. but in recent years, we have started to bifurcate the data that way, and i should say pointedly the gaps between those
groups is just as wide as the gaps between whites and black students or whites and asian -- between whites and native americans, excuse me. so we have only just begun to differentiate the types of origins of the asian-americans. but it is important and the department has been put on notice that this is something that the community wants to see. and as we begin to release data in years to come. we do not have data as differentiated for hispanic-americans, however, it is more difficult to assess that data. many of the data we're getting from schools and school districts. they don't all collect the same way. certainly the asian pacific data is one that we are working very hard to have data in the future
to differentiate their results. >> so the school districts are differentiating between and among asian subgroups but not hispanic? >> yeah. >> why is that? >> no, they do. but they don't all report to us that way. >> okay. >> they don't all report the origin, and we don't collect the data in such a refined way for the hispanics. >> but now you're planning to begin to collect the data. >> yes. >> is there some way that -- you know, yesterday we were talking about leveraging federal dollars for state investment in education. is there some kay that -- since i'm sure au these school districts are receiving some form of federal aid, that you can request if not mandate that they provide you with that data, broken down by subgroup? >> well, i don't want to say they're refusing to give it to us. it's a manner of putting the procedures for data collection in place such that when one state gives us an indication and a definition for origin of a
student, it is the same as another state. so i think it's a matter of getting our definitions and procedures in place. i don't think it's a funding issue. >> and whose responsibility is that? >> it's a collective responsibility. of working partnerships with the states, and with the surveys and mandated surveys in addition to the ones that are not mandated at the u.s. department of education. >> is there a plan to do that or is it just sort of, it would be nice to do that? >> no, we are cognizant of the need to differentiate amongst the origins of the students. and we have started as i indicated, most notably with the asian americans. so we're on the pathway, yes. >> thank you. commission yaki? >> thank you very much, mr. chair. i've been thinking about this over the past couple of days.
we've been talking about an achievement gap that may impede access to education. there's a financial gap that impedes that, as well and then there's the completion gap in terms of being once you're in there being able to finish and how all that goes toward debt burden, income earning and in the cases of some the ability to escape a life of the low ses factors, what have you. one of the questions i want to ask for all of you, if you have it, is it appears to me that in in looking at the issues of access to begin with that community colleges play a very important role in providing a couple of things. one, if we can achieve, as some states are doing, and as president obama has wanted, to have free community college, we're closing the financial access gap there, but secondly within the community college system itself, you can provide
the kinds of instruction that can get someone up to the speed where they can then transfer to the four-year institution for completion. do we have any data on community colleges and their role, and their success rate in terms of minority students, getting them in, and being able to matriculate them into a four-year institution, and whether or not that has an impact on their ability to complete account baccalaureate degree? do we have any data on that? >> there is data both at the national and state level. i would argue that some of the state administrative databases have the best data to the really track the pathway in clear detail. a number of studies across different states, ohio, texas, and a few others actually found that starting at a community college reduces your rate of ba completion. so knowing that, then how do we
work around it or with it? there has been an explosion of research on community colleges. teachers college out of columbia has done a great deal of work, as well. in terms of minorities, because of -- and low-income students, that is the first place of entry. regardless of academic preparation, so it's an opportunity and also a challenge, if the institution is not operating or performing as it should, it has -- it could have the the effect of basically working against the preparation that students come with. at the same time, students who don't have proper preparation, this is a good place to begin to at least earn some form of credential. but there is a lot of work out there. i would say that the state databases have that level of detail and also you can get more information on the partnerships because articulation agreements,
florida has great articulation agreements. other states are working toward that. i think one of the trends we see in texas is where students can graduate with an associate's degree in high school. and that's been a really interesting development in how we think about postsecondary education. you don't have to finish high school before you begin. some states have better data than others to look at community college as the boundaries are now blended between high school and community colleges. >> dr. minor. >> thank you. i think we have very good data. i think we're not enthusiastic about what it tells us about how first generation low income students are performing in community colleges although they are very accessible to students and relatively affordable if not free in some states or virtually free. we still have very serious challenges getting those students to complete either the
associate's degree or to earn enough credits to transfer into a four-year college and university. 25 years ago, maybe community collegeses were talked about as having a cooling out function. and i do think we've got enough data to suggest that in some cases it does lower the likelihood that students earn the bachelor's degree. but there are two things or a few factors that i think play into why we are experiencing these kinds of outcomes for students. in any state system, communities colleges tend to be underresourced institutions. the majority of their faculty tend to be adjunct or contract knack cult and there's not a residential component which means students pursuing associates taking classes at a community college are also living their life you be like a lot of students attending four-year institutions which may
impede their ability to subsist. we still have the issue of students accumulating enough credits over a period of one to you know six or eight semesters that would allow them to transfer so california is a good example. it's also a challenging example that for a long time has had the most universal access, the strongest articulation agreements but 75% of latino students and 75% of african-american students who begin don't transfer or don't earn the associate's degree after six years. and that's just very problematic. >> it's interesting to me because. the search for these kinds of answers i think that commissioner achten berg was talking about you have all these different things in play. education is a holistic
endeavor. you're trying to make up for deficiencies that may have happened in k through 1 and how do you do that? do you do that at the community college level? do you do it through supplemental services at the college level? i mean part of what you're telling me is that maybe community colleges aren't the sort of secondary lifeboat that they could be or should be or maybe they should be but they're not resourced correctly and not staffed correctly. they're not programmed in the right way. they become this sort of generic catchall for a lot of different things that may or may not really lead to that baccalaureate degree. so i wish that part of me wishes that we had now almost a second and half day to get some of the community college folks in here to talk about there because that seems to be a lot of people throwing that out there. if they can't get into cal, they can't get into michigan state or they can't get into the
wherever, then go to community college and then transfer. if that reality isn't really there, we need to know about that. there's one thing that i want to pursue that commission ker achtenberg was trying to nudge you on. i appreciate the fact you may not be able to talk about it. when you look at problems like trio or scog which are creatures of congressional creation, our job here is to be the watchdog. our job here is to bark as loudly as we can on an issue where we think that maybe something needs to be changed. when you look at a team, when you look at completion rates within colleges, and across the board, does it say to you and to any of you that maybe trio or especially supplemental services student services, others you shouldn't be a grant but should
be almost formula based on how many low income minority students you have in your institution? ing that it shouldn't be a question of whether or not you have a good grant writer and the ability -- and someone who has the time to do that but simply to say when the cal state system has so many latinos in their system or african-americans or whoever, that we need the ability to say, this should not be a discretionary program? this should be a mandatory program because we have a national -- we have a national challenge. we have a national goal to ensure once are you there you make it out because we heard testimony yesterday what happens about people who don't make it out, the debt burden that it causes to them, how it creates a legacy of debt for the next generation so that impedes their ability to move on. there are things we can do. so are these things where we should be rethinking the issue
of grant and thinking more along the lines of pel or something as an entitlement to institutions? it's almost a reward for their ability to enroll minority and disadvantaged students but it's also just a practical reality that we're going to help make more productive people if we give them the resources to stay and succeed? >> let me just answer quickly and carefully if i may. >> i understand. >> it's an interesting question but i think we have to consider it carefully. there are provisions in the regulations that spell out who should be served by many of these programs and i'm very clear about those regulations and they're clear they're designed to serve first generation and low income students. there's no doubt about that i think the question you're pur e pursuing is where those grants
ought to live and what kinds of institutions. >> not even that. yesterday i asked this, as well. do we need -- i mean it's great and the it's certainly -- its creation we understood that first generation individuals are people who deserve extra attention but the fact of the matter is that over the past 25, 30, 40 years, you know, since the advent of the civil rights act things have changed. we've created a legacy you have poverty -- it's blinking. we've created a legacy of poverty and the injustice in certain communities in this country where essentially for all testing and practical purposes they are first generation. their generation never got the chance to get the promises of that i have government and others had made on the war on poverty and others. so do we need to change that and say trio should not be a grant
award restricted to this category but we should look at an disadvantaged students generally in a trio type program for all those students? >> yeah. again, i think it's a theoretical question. it's a philosophical question. i think in the actual application. >> it's a fiscal question. >> all of those things combined. i think one of the opportunities congress will take up the reauthorization of the higher education act and it is one of the questions that i think is worth pursuing and i think what's baked in or the bigger question there is how eb are the programs that we're currently investing in. could we leverage the funds differently or focus them them differently in a way that would be more effective and ultimately sort of improving the social mobility of the students that we think the programs were intended to help. i think that's one of several questions that we could take up.
but we should do it carefully because there are no clear answers. and the final thing sa i would say about that any provisions that spell out how federal grant awards would be made has to be careful not to offend the constitution and applicable laws which would make it very difficult in some cases to focus on specific populations as recipients of federal funds. >> sure. >> thank you. commissioner, i'm sorry, vice chair, you're next followed by commissioners -- >> i thought doctor. >> okay, go ahead. >> well, i'm not necessarily going to tell the federal government where they should redistribute their money but i will say you brought up the point of successful grant writers. i think we do have a problem of capacity at some institutions and social capital in terms of being able to leverage the best grants, the best designs and so
for the. so i think maybe investing in institutional capacity to have stronger grant opportunities and more successful grant opportunities would be one way to think about where to spend additional funds and i do think even if we were going to redistributor between programming are, i do think we still need some for of accountability that the money is being spent right. i think to dr. minor's point about not offend package the constitution, there is a way i think to be able to increase capacity of institutions with the lowest income students and still call for accountability. >> thank you. madame vice chair, you'll be followed by commission kers narasaki and heriot. >> this question would be to all of our panelists. as educators and others have
looked out and reviewed pathways to higher education for our poor, our first generation college our underrepresented minority students, one of the fairly novel concepts that has been developed is that of the early college. and as i understand that program, it combines high school and college that by the time a student completes their high school requirements they have also completed two years of college. i was wondering if there's any data out there and whether this is a trend that you see merit in or what do our statistics and our information tell us? >> well, what i would say is that these are fairly new programs, not in all cases but
we hadn't seen them as systemic programs. one of the challenges is that public education in our country belongs to the states, and a few places i've lived i've had the pleasure of learning there were more school districts than counties which all have different calendars, different graduation requirements, different rules and regulations about how to account for courses. i think it's challenging. theoretically and conceptually it's a wonderful idea in two ways. one is that students actually accumulate college credits which makes college more affordable but i think what's more more important that is that they clearly understand themselves as clearly transitioning from high school to some postsecondary institution. so it's a way maybe not formally but even i think culturally and socially to get. students in the mind-set that they are expected to
transitioning from high school to some postsecondary institution. so i think it's early. you know, it's interesting, i was in the state of florida just a few weeks ago. and their legislature mandated they've got four lab schools that are attached to the universities. one of them is fi -- fau, florida atlantic university which not only does early college. i actually had an opportunity to meet a 17-year-old, a 19-year-old who both were on their way to graduate school that they had accumulated so many credits not only in high school but on a college campus during that period of time. so we've got models but i don't think we've got systemic data at this point to suggest which models of early college work best. >> is that something that the department of education can, did, i understand how education is generally a state-run program. but is there something that the department of education could
possibly do to encourage folks to going and to get additional information? because you're right. the kids are actually on a college campus in more often than not, and they begin to see themselves there. >> absolutely. it's one of the things that we expect to incentivize in some of our programs where it's appropriate. so we're very excited about the potential of early college. >> at the national center for education statistics we collect transcript dataing from high schools and we're also beginning to collect data from middle schools, as well because some of these kids are actually involved in these programs. it is a new trend and it takes awhile to sort of get this in the mold of data collection. but we are on it. and we understand that there are even different mod dez of types of this perhaps but it takes time to collect these data and get them into the pipeline. i should say though that one of
the things that's going to facilitate this type of data collection, the digital approach to transcript data collection. currently, what is done for most schools and school districts is that we have to do it by hand which is very labor intensive. the coding of these data is also not very standardized and so there already some issues to work out. but it will be available in the coming years. >> i would add that i think the institute of education has started to fund a couple of researchers looking at the effect of say dual enrollment, not necessarily early college high schools. but one of the things to note on these programs is what are we measuring? are we measuring the students who would have gone to college anyway? it's getting through that selection, bias and finding the benefit to students who may not
have gone to college and i think that's one of the key things to disentangle out of this. but and fib me for repeating this again, but there are ways to begin to measure this and i think some of the state databases like the one in texas would be able to give you some of the answers that you're looking at because we are seeing students from the rio grande val from south texas, the poorest counties in the nation graduating with associates degrees leaving high school. we have yet to -- we don't know what that means for long-term trajectory but we doe very evidence that completing the associate's degree does lead to increased odds of completing a bachelor's degree. >> that is correct you. mr. chair, do i have time for one more question? >> sure. >> as a former state trial and an at the lat judge, i saw early on that indeed, there was correlation between education and incarceration.
in fact, it was often repeated that the number of students not reading at grade level by the third grade was one of the assessments that was used to project the number of prisons that were to be constructed. and the number. >> prison beds that we would need as the states and the nation. can you comment on that? is there any truth, dr. carr, to such a statistic being kept and if you know whether in fact, it's used as a projection for the number of prisons and prison beds that we'll need? >> well, i can say that we certainly don't keep it and -- but i don't doubt that it doesn't exist or people aren't using it to make such projections. but i can say that the gaps
between minority students examine white students are large and they're persistent and they start early. and this is something we really do need to be concerned about, the reading of students of their inability to read as early as third grade is a predictor of a lot of factors that are detrimental to the future of the tra ject trif these students examine their academic pursuits. i think though we cannot lose of sight that there has been significant progress. it's not all doomsday. it looks bad, i realize, but the data suggests that all students regardless of race, ethnicity are improving although the gaps are still there. the only reason the gaps are narrowing is even as small as they are is because the bottom of the distribution is coming up quicker. that means that minority students, black students it, hispanic students are making significant improve o
provements. >> druxt flores, any comment? >> i will concur with peggy. i don't doubt that the statistic exists. it is not something that the department of education maintains. >> and i would just add there's evidence out of economics that shows increased educational especially completion of the high school degree reduces crime. >> of commissionerer narasaki followed by commissioner heriot. >> thank you. dr. minor, you made a comment that there were clearly many more students who were eligible to be served who probably aren't being served because of the limitations on resources. do you have an estimate about how many we're talking about? >> i think it depending by state. but most programs let me say it this way, we probably could double the number of students
that are being served by the programs that are currently funded. >> stop some of the witnesses who are testifying over the these twos days of hearings have proposals of either they feel that there is insufficient data to show that trio and the other programs have been sufficiently successful so that we should just almost funding for that or some of them have been successful of, perhaps it would be better to roll it all into one big general grant program that was more flexible. i'm wondering what your take on in terms of the data, how could we improve the data collected, dr. minor, you noted that the department has been doing more rigorous databased research. i'm wondering what you've learned and i'm wondering whether any of you have a response to the issue how could these programs be improved?
>> well, thank you. i appreciate you highlighting the point. there's no doubt about it that we need to have better evaluation and data attached to this kind of investment annually. i make no bones bes that. in terms of what to propose in place of or instead of is an interesting question because as durable as these perhaps have been, i don't think that there's consensus in the field about how to replace them or how to do the work better. i think the one thing we are clear about is that there are many factors that contribute to a young person being successful in an education system and so there is some need for a diversity of efforts. buff one of the things that i've been very clear about and i think the department is very clear about is increasing the rigor of evaluations attached to the program. some of these programs were
started 50 years ago and rigorous evaluation about effectiveness was not a part of the legislative record at that time. but i think now as we move forward, i think we do -- we are significantly more sophisticated in terms of the social science. we still have some serious data problems to fix but i can guarantee you it's not just the department that the grantee communities and the constituents are also very cooperative and interested and willing to learn about how to more effectively serve students. i met with the group just two weeks ago and one of the things that i try and communicate to them, these are not federally funded programs to build roads or to build bridges. these are young people. and i take seriously the issue that we could be spending taxpayer dollars in programs that don'tectively help students be successful in educational systems.
so it is something that we're very serious about, and i expect that to become a much more significant factor going forward. >>. >> anyone else? >> has congress been providing sufficient funding to do the kind of research that i think everybody agrees would be ideal? >> the answer is no. so one of the -- what's interesting when we raced this to the grantees, dr. flores mentioned that the kind of expertise and the kind of data collection and capacity required to do the kind of evaluation has not sort of been baked into the budget. so one message from grantees is that we're aortic working as hard as we can, james, to serve students. now you want to sort of lay on this exquisite, elaborate evaluation without additional resources. it's problematic. and so i think that's something that we have to take up. if in fact we're going to ask
individuals who have been awarded grants to do additional work to be responsible for rigorous evaluation, we've got to be serious about providing that kind you have support. kind of support. >> commission ker heriop. >> actually, an i think dr. carr was. >> are you sure? >> i actually have one more question. >> go ahead go ahead. >> so it's been my experience that the cost of attending college is not just had the tuition and fees. the challenge it seems in a lot of the reading that we have is that not surprisingly, if you come from a poor or low income family, you're trying to work full-time. or a lot. and that contributes can potentially to not being able to finish on time. and so i'm wondering how much research if any has been done on the efficacy of providing sty pends so that students not only -- so that they can spend
more time being able to study and take a full load than having to have the stress of working full-time as well as trying to carry a full load. >> let me just say quickly, i'm very proud of one of the programs that is run by the department of education. it's not a trio program but we refer to it as campus. child care access means parents in school. and essentially what it does is provide child care access for students who have children. and so i think it's a critically important factor. one of the things that i want to make clear and i don't know that this data point that is come up in the day and a half you've heard testimony is that we often talk about college students as 1-year-olds who just left high school when in fact, that's not true, that the mean age of students has gone up over the years. right now in this country, there
are more individuals between the ages of 25 and 64, individuals we expect to be in the workplace that have some college but no degree. meaning that they started college somewhere and they fell out. there are 36 million individuals in that age group and only 33 million individuals in that age group who actually have a bachelor's degree. what that tells me is that not only do we have to provide very traditional opportunities for individuals to earn a postsecondary credential or degree, we also have to provide less traditional ways or nontraditional ways for students who may have started three years ago, stopped out to working to have children to, raise a family, to do those kind of things and we have to provide degree opportunities and pathways for those individuals to return. >> i think i would add that the common student is no longer the 18 through 24-year-old without work responsibilities or family
responsibilities. so this idea of a stipend would be a great experiment to implement. would it work? part of that may mean well, you still have to fill out the fabsa and figure out how to comply with federal regulations and at the end of the day for many poor students is they never get near filling out the fafsa. there's going to be significant scaffolding needed to understand who would even qualify for a stipend, especially if it's federal money. so we come back to the simplify indication of how to even make yourself known as a student in need and he you know the easier way out so to speak is to just pay as you go at community colleges. i think it's a great idea. it could be a great experiment but it's going to require additional scaffolding. >> thank you. >> commissioner heroit. >> thank you. i just wanted to go back to a point that the chairman started with. and point out that it's a
complicated world for all races. and we talked about disaggregating data for asians and for hispanics. but disaggregation is going to make things look different for blacks and whites, as well, i believe. for instance, my understanding is that caribbean blacks tend to do better in the higher education setting than noncaribbean blacks. and that among whites, you get some big, big differences, as well. you know, some ethnic groups do better than others in higher education. jewish students for example have been extraordinarily successful in the higher education setting. scotts, irish on the other hand have been considerably less successful in that set. have not done nearly, as well. this is not to say that these groups don't excel in other areas but in the area of higher education, there already big differences among subgroups
within blacks and within whites. has anyone collected any data on that? is there any plan to collect data on that kind of issue? >> i guess this is for you, dr. carr, the most but anybody else would like to jump had in there. >> it's a very complex set of questions when is you start asking people those sorts of things about their religion, even sometimes their origin, the country of origin. so we have to be very careful. we work closely with omb regarding how we can ask these questions and how we can report out on these questions just because the states or the school districts collect the data doesn't mean that omb will support us reporting out on data in that way. but i do think that there's a wealth of data through other means not just from the national center of education statistics
that show that blacks, there's differentiation, blacks from the african nations, for example, tend to score higher. the caribbean blacks, as well. so there's a lot of information that tells us that we need to be paying attention to these differentiations. but we have to be careful about how we ask these questions. >> i appreciate your question. i think it's very important in terms of when the question to me makes me think about studies of immigrant students, right? and generational status and at census has many data sets where you can begin to disaggregate among the different groups and there is considerable work thinking about bigenerational status for each group, how are they doing. i would be happy to refer to you that research. i don't think the answer is to not disaggregate because if we're thinking about where to spend federal or state money,
it's important to know where the gaps are. >> i would add one sort of technical problem with the disaggregation sort of pathway and it's a statistical one. once you start disaggregating at a certain level, you're not going to have enough size or statistical power to detect patterns that are reliable and dependable over time. in many instances you can't go down as far as you would like ar to cross those sub groups with gender, for example. pacific islanders are a very good case. they're very few and they're sort of located in certain states. only about five states to be specific. >> the thing that worries me is that i think a lot of americans get the idea that blacks as a group and whites as a group are monolithic. neither group is the least bit
monolithic. they're very complicated groups and it's i take -- your point on the difficulty of collecting the data and the sensitivity of the issue. but it's important to me that people understand that these are not monolithic groups. >> is there a quick question commissioner? >> i would hope so. >> thanks very much to the panel. thanks, mr. chair. dr. carr, what factors contribute to the determination of what -- first of all, socioeconomic status. i think we have a general understanding that it has to do with primarily income or there are other farcs that contribute to a determination of someone's socioeconomic status. >> there are three factors in the literature that are typically used to determine socioeconomic status. holsings ahead 1954 for example
identifies income it, parental education and occupation as the three key factors. but having done research in that area myself, i can say even within those key factors there's differentiation about what they actually mean based upon the cultural and racial makeup of the family. so income for $100,000, income for a black family might mean something very din than $100,000 for say a white family or having a four-year degree for a black family, a family with the parents with four-year degrees may mean something very different from a family with a different sort of access to a different type of four-year institution. so it varies and so we have to be very careful. so the department has depended most notably on data from the
free reduced price lunches i mentioned earlier. but we're having problems now with the reliability of those data. and collecting those actual income data from the parents is also a bit of a herring because the parents often don't want to tell you how much they make even when you give them ranges. >> so income parental education, occupation, i noted from one of your graphs that asians even from low scs, dramatically outperform not just other groups from low scs, but groups from high scs. >> yes. >> do you have an analysis or data? has the department done any analysis or data why low scs asians outperform almost anybody else. >> the asians are not disproportionately locked in the
lower ses as compared to say blacks and hispanics. unless you separate it the asian pacific islanders out, they are very poor and so you don't see the pattern that we saw here today. >> one other question for dr. minor. you mentioned a number of programs, rio, gearup, i think campus program. do you have an understanding of how much those programs or total expenditures for all the programs have -- has been level, has been flat, as has increased from 1990 to the present. >> do you have any data related to that? >> yes, weise have very specific data for all of the programs in terms of the appropriation levels from year to year. id say over the last decade, there have been very small incrementing increases. subject to the budget, but fairly flat. compared to lots of other indicators. and the big question again is whether or not the investments
saw a 2% increase or a 3% increase, whether or not that is sufficient to actually sort of see the movement we need to see across the country. in the last just several years, they've been relatively flat with small incrementing increases. >> when do those programs, for example, when did the bulk of these programs have their incipiency? was it recently or was it -- can you take it back to 1970s, 1980s -- 1990s. >> some of the programs we spoking about earlier, trio, talent search, eoc, were -- are about 50 years old. and they were a part of the legislation, the great society that sought to end poverty in the 1960s. some of them gear up that we mentioned came on in 1988. some of them like first in the world as recent as last year,
2014 was the first year that have grant program. so the majority of them, there was a bundle that came online been 50 years ago. some mid to early 90s. some of these represent extensions of other programs and some of them are new. you heard me mention earlier the president's goal to be first in the world. that has been complemented by the establishment of a grant program to spur innovation and to degree completion in postsecondary education. so that program this year is only two years old. >> up with of the things. >> i'm going to exercise the chair's prerogative. and wrap up. i did want to ask one quick thing before we close. dr. flores, you mentioned that i think dr. minor also concurred that starting a associates course of these community college makes it less likely that you're going to obtain your bachelor's degree. is that correct?
>> students who start, yeah. yeah. >> so yesterday, dr. flores, william flores, president of the university of houston downtown indicated that one of their success factors is that those students who enroll in a community college and then transfer to their school, they actually have them go back and complete their associate's degree and then graduate, go through a graduation ceremony and that actually increases their likelihood of completing their bachelor. i don't think that that's necessarily inconsistent with what you're saying. but could you address that if you're even familiar with that latter issue? >> i think my light is off so i'm going to have to speak loudly. so the evidence i was speaking about didn't account for these potential innovations. >> turn yours on. >> use your mic. >> i don't think those res necessarily inconsistent stories. i think we're talking about an
aadditional intervention. so the university of houston downtown study started this intervention of taking students back, right? these other studies i'm talking about didn't account for that intervention. not necessarily they're inconsistent. that could be an additional way, right it, if the students already transferred that already says a lot about the student because most never transfer. >> mr. chair, can i just answer his question? >> is that what you wanted to do? >> yeah. >> go ahead. >> so for the asian-american community again, a lot of the demographics are shaped by how immigration has created the community here. and the biggest predictor of poverty in the asian-american community is limited english proficiency. as you know, many asian languages aren't based on latin. so it's very difficult, it's much more difficult to learn english and so you have -- you have a situationing where a lot of parents, for example, from
korea and other countries may be highly educated, may even have college and advanced degrees, but can't automatically turn their professional licenses here into a professional license to practice whatever their career was. they end up owning grocery stores or doing very low income work. so they're highly changed as parents which is the best predictor of whether the kids are going to go to college but their income is going to be very low. >> my understanding is parental education is one of the scs factors. correct? >> yes, it is. but these factors really need to be culminated into a single construct for them to be truly predictive. >> i'm going to wrap this panel up. it's fascinating. we could talk for much more. we also have another panel and we want to be respectful of that tonight. thanks to each of you. it's fascinating and helpful. as i bid you farewell, you're free to stick around for the balance of the day. i'd ask for our other panel to
move forward and our staff to change the name plates so that we can get started on our next panel. thank you. today marks the 70th industry of the formal surrender of japan on the "uss missouri. ending world war ii in the pacific theater. we'll show an institute on the end of the pacific war. starting at 8:00 p.m., american strategy in the asia-pacific end game with james perry, historian. at 9:00 p.m., stalin's strategy with david glance, form per army war college professor. at 10:00, u.s. soviet and japanese plans for the invasion and defense of northern japan with u.s. command and general staff college. another freshman profile now, this one with republican congressman ralph abraham of louisiana's fifth district.
a political newcomer, congressman abraham is a practicing physician, has a veterinarian degree, is a pooh pilot and has served in the national guard. >> congressman ralph abraham, you are batting a thousand when it comes to elections. this is your first ever publicly held office, correct? >> that is correct. this first one we ran for, and fortunately, we won it. but it is the first one. >> why'd you want to run? >> i've got grandchildren now. they're very small. and the direction that i thought this country was going in was somewhat different than the way it was going. that's why i joined the race. we need to leave a better country than we certainly came up with. and that's why we ran. >> was it hard at all to get the family on board? >> not at all. i've got a very supportive family. diana's my wife. and she's all in for fortunately just about everything we've elected to do in life. she's been somewhat the wind beneath the wing.
my three older children, or my three children. when i told them that we were considering running, their first word was do it. >> how old are your kids? >> 32, 33 and 34, in that area. so we had them stair stepped and it was a wonderful period of growing up with them. >> now you're representing the fifth district in louisiana. >> that's right. >> the largest district in louisiana, correct? >> it is for land mass, 24 parishes. goes from the top of the state almost all the way to baton rouge all the way over to appaloosa. so it's a big deal as far as land mass. >> is a parish like a county? >> they're the same just because of our french heritage, we stick with the name of parish. >> what's that district like in terms of the people and the businesses and the occupations there? >> we are one if not the biggest row crop district in the nation. we grow more corn, soybeans, used to grow a lot of cotton,
than anywhere else in the nation. good country people. conservative, down to earth, god fearing, so to speak. the biggest town is monroe, louisiana. the second biggest is alexandria. compared to other large towns across the country, comparably speaking it would be a very small town. so we are rural. we are good, hard working people. >> you said you decided to run because you were concerned about where the country was headed. what are some of the top concerns of people in your district? >> getting away from our constitutional principles. our founders were men of genius. and if you look at the constitution, and i read it -- try to read it at least once every quarter, every six months, look at the declaration of independence. one, it's based on christian values. two, it's based on very conservative values. but the most important thing it's based on is small government.
and we've gotten away from that. the government that we have now -- and this goes back decades, not just one or two administrations but it starts back in the '20s and '30s of the 19th century -- or the 20th century, where government has outgrown the people. it's no longer a country by and for the people, now we're a government without a lot of people. and when you get a organization or a bureaucracy as big as we have now, then it has to feed itself. when it does that it stops feeding the people. and that's what concerns me is that we are now a bureaucracy or a government that is no longer looking out for its people. it's looking out for itself. >> you bring a background that by most people's measure would be pretty considerable over the course of a lifetime. you've been a veterinarian. you're a practicing physician. you've been in the army reserves and the mississippi national guard. you're a pilot. as you came to congress you must
have had a fairly wide selection of committees to serve on with that sort of expertise. >> well, the thing we ask for when we got elected was veterans because they are near and dear to our hearts. our heroes need to be protected and taken care of. they've taken care of us so the least we can doing is repay them. agriculture for the aforementioned reason we are such a big agricultural district that i needed to represent my farmers, ranchers, foresters, very well. and then i was fortunate enough to be asked to be on the science and technology committee. and that's a fun committee. we discuss things that are new, innovational, on the horizon so to speak. but we also discuss a very important issue like epa rules, waters of the u.s., think climate change. so it's a mixed bag of things on the science committee whereas the v.a. and agriculture are more specific. i enjoy them all. and they're all good committees.
>> three committee assignments, floor work, constituent work, how do you keep it all organized? >> luckily we have a very young, aggressive staff that keeps me in line. when i come to work every morning we generally have a quick meeting of what the day's activities are going to be, what the week's activities are going to be. and they get me lined out so to speak. so i'm very fortunate to have good people surrounding me. >> while we're having our conversation as congress gets ready heading into the august recess, what have you learned about washington as a governing area and congress that is different than what you expected when you got elected? >> as a physician and as a businessman i'm used to things happening a little bit more quickly, little bit more efficiently. so it's a process that you have to adapt to. i am used to giving orders as a
physician and they're carried out that day or certainly maybe even that minute or that hour. and it's certainly not like that up here. we have to be part of a system that's a little slower moving. and work within the system to get things done. so you have to learn the ropes, so to speak. but i've learned quickly, i hope, and have gotten some things done. >> in terms of, quote, taking those orders, how is your leadership with gop leaders in the house? >> oh, well. i think we have good leadership. from boehner all the way down to scalise, mccarthy in the middle being the leader and in louisiana, we're lucky to have steve khalis as our majority whip. he brings not only some character and clarity to the situation, but he also brings some power. so as louisiana and louisiana delegation, if we have an issue that we want pushed to the front burner, well, where do we go? we go to scalise. >> what do you think -- you talked about your background just a little. but what do you think is in it your background that best qualified you for being a member of congress?
>> it's probably the veterinarian and the physician role. it takes some study to get to those particular places in life. and being up here in congress you have to do your homework. you just don't come up here every day and just show up. when i go home at night i'm usually reading my material for the previous committee hearings the rest of the week. my staff has given me tasks to do that also bolsters hopefully my knowledge base for whatever's coming down the pike. so it takes a lot of after hours work. to stay ahead of the game. and you have to stay ahead of the game here. some of the members we've talked to, i tossed out the figures, speaking of after hours work, that a number of them are staying in their offices. their living accommodations are in their offices. are you a member of that club? >> early on i was. it was simply because of the finances. i refused to pay exorbitant rent fees. i'm pretty tight with a dollar.
until diane found us something affordable and what i thought was at least fairly reasonable, i did camp on the couch for a coup weeks. but now i'm in now i'm in a little apartment across town, so to speak. the rent is still high but manageable. >> do you get home to the louisiana district as much every weekend? >> almost every weekend. there's been two, three times at the most. i prefer to go home every weekend. because, again, i get to see the people that i represent. certainly the week that we get off and go back in the district is the favorite week of the month for me. >> people who aren't washington insiders or here all the time, what should they know about how their government runs? >> the good news is there is still a lot of bipartisan support. we pass 80%, 85% of the bills
that come down from leadership. on a bipartisan basis. we could not do it without help from our democratic colleagues. now, there is certainly some ideology and issues we will never agree on. again, let's go back to the founders. that's what they wanted. we wanted a debate. if we agreed on everything all the time, there would be no need for us to be up here. so we have to represent our people. that will cause some divisiveness sometimes. but more often than that, we get along better than most people think we do up here. >> do you find it more or less bipartisan? >> a little more. i knew there would be some. i guess i've been surprised refreshingly there has been a little more than i anticipated. good business. >> you talk abo