Professor to speak in D.C. on educational crisis facing young men of color

Published: January 25 2010


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida education professor will participate in a national briefing on Capitol Hill Tuesday to raise awareness of the overwhelming barriers that minority male students continue to face in education achievement.

Luis Ponjuan, assistant professor in educational administration and policy at UF’s College of Education, is one of five national experts on minority education who will participate in a panel discussion from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

The panel will discuss the findings of a report — “The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color” — to be released at the briefing by the College Board, a not-for-profit association of more than 5,700 schools, colleges and other educational organizations.

The report highlights some of the “undeniable challenges among minority students,” including a lack of role models, search for respect outside of education, loss of cultural memory, poverty challenges, language barriers, community pressures and a sense of a failing education system.

The College Board is holding the briefing in collaboration with the Asian Pacific American, Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses. The report offers insights and firsthand experiences of more than 60 scholars, practitioners and activists from the African American, Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Native American communities, based on a series of four one-day seminars in which thought leaders from each community discussed the education needs of minority males.

The College Board’s report makes a number of recommendations for erasing the disparities in educational attainment and finding new ways of reaching the increasingly diverse U.S. student population. The report calls on policymakers at the federal, state and local levels, as well as foundation and community leaders, to heighten public awareness and explore policy options to improve the plight of young minority men.

At UF, Ponjuan’s research focuses on equity and access in higher education for underrepresented students and faculty of color. He has published research articles on the educational pathways of Latino students and the work life of faculty of color. A first-generation immigrant from Cuba, Ponjuan was selected as the 2009 Faculty Fellow for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and the 2008 ASHE and Ford Foundation Fellow for the Institute on equity research methods and critical policy analysis.

SOURCE: Luis Ponjuan, assistant professor, UF College of Education; 352-262-1009 (cell); 352-273-4313 (office);

MEDIA CONTACT/UF COLLEGE OF EDUCATION: Larry Lansford, director of communications; 352-273-4137;

MEDIA CONTACT/COLLEGE BOARD: Stephanie Coggin, 212-713-8052;


Larry Lansford,