Martin Luther King Jr. lived an extraordinary life. At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy. At 34, he galvanized the nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech. At 35, he won the Noble Peace Prize. At 39, he was assassinated, but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today. ( He changed our world. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day “honors the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who dreamed of a color-blind society,” (

However, 40 years after his death, racial injustice and inequality continue to take a toll on our society in many areas. One crucial area is education where inequality and inequity can lead to the loss of economic mobility for generations of minorities and negatively affects all population groups.

In Texas, where Hispanics are expected to be the largest population group by 2022, if these inequities are not addressed, there will be a 12% decline in average household income and a 15% increase in number of households living in poverty, causing a negative impact on state tax revenue at an estimate of $15 billion yearly.

Also, for the first time in the state, workers with a Bachelor’s degree or higher make up a larger share of the workforce (36%) than those with a high school diploma or less (34%). By 2020, 65 % of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education.

Yet only 53.8 % of Hispanics and 43.7 % of African Americans meet TSI college entrance requirements compared to 72.9 % of Whites, a 29.2 % gap. Among those who are not college ready in math, reading, or writing, only 40–60% meet readiness standards within 2 years, and only about 25–40% go on to complete a college level course.  The 2017 national six-year completion rate for Hispanic students starting in two-year colleges was 33%, and only 1 in 10 completed a four-year degree.

Students who come to school lagging academically require more resources to catch up, succeed, and eventually, close the achievement gap. Catch the Next’s Ascender program serves as one of those resources allowing students access to culturally relevant materials and instructors trained in proven classroom methodology. With an asset-based curriculum, students are validated and they succeed, moving out of developmental education and into credit-bearing courses often within the first semester. Our program’s wrap-around services continue to promote graduation and transfer to a four -year university.


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