The minorities are now the majority. White students have taken a back seat to students of other races and ethnicities in America’s public schools, says a new study. Starting with the fall semester, schools across the country, for the first time, are expected to show a higher enrollment of minority students than non-Hispanic whites.
Reports The Associated Press, via CBS News: “Non-Hispanic white students are still expected to be the largest racial group in the public schools this year at 49.8 percent. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics, minority students, when added together, will now make up the majority.”
Here’s the breakdown of the other 50.2 percent: About one-quarter of the minority students are Hispanic, 15 percent are African American and the remaining notable percentile – five percent – are Asian American. A very small percentage are biracial or Native American.
The AP reports picks up the story:
The new majority-minority status of America's schools mirrors a change that is coming for the nation as a whole. The Census Bureau estimates that the country's population also will have more minorities than whites for the first time in 2043, a result of higher birth rates among Hispanics and a stagnating or declining birth rate among blacks, whites and Asians.
The disparities are evident even in the youngest of black, Hispanic and Native American children, who on average enter kindergarten academically behind their white and Asian peers. They are more likely to attend failing schools and face harsher school discipline.
The study highlights a changing reality in academics – cultural diversity, language arts and history have been broadened to accommodate a wider educational scope of learning. Even lunch menus in some schools have been altered to reflect more ethnic foods.
But other topics that naturally will arise are inherently more thorny – racial tensions, poverty, inequality and immigration.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the racial shift a shaping moment in education. “We can't talk about other people's children. These are our children,” he said.
The change is being seen in private schools as well, though Caucasians still outnumber minorities. And in homes, about one out of every five children now speak a language other than English.
Where the change is not being seen is with America’s educators. Fewer than one in five teachers is of minority decent.
Lisa Mack, president of the Ohio-based Parent Teacher Association, said local parents and educators alike must embrace the change and welcome minorities.
“I think one thing that's critical is that schools and PTAs and everyone just need to understand that with changing demographics, you can't do things the way you've done them before,” Mack said. “That you have to be creative in reaching out and making them feel welcomed and valued and supported in the school system.”
Statistics show that by the year 2043, the U.S. will have a larger minority population than Caucasians.