According to a new report by the National Center for Education (NCES), the racial landscape of students in the public school system is about to change. Minorities – namely, Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, Native Americans, and multiracial individuals will account for 50.3% of the public school student population. 51% of grade level pre-kindergarten to 8th grade will be minorities and they will make up 48% of 9th to 12th graders.
It appears the change in the enrollment is due to the percentage of US-born Hispanics and Asians in the overall population. Between 2012 and 2013, the Hispanic population grew by 2.1% and the Asian population grew by 2.9%. This will increase the number of Asian and Hispanic students attending public schools between 2011 and 2022. Hispanic students will rise by 33%, Asian/Pacific Islanders by 20%, multiracial students by 44%, and African-Americans by 2% between 2011 and 2022.
Meanwhile the percentage of Caucasians is projected to decrease by 6% and American Indian/Alaska Natives is expected to decrease by 5%.
Projections also show Hispanics and Asians having the biggest increase in high school graduates: between 2009-10 and 2022-23, there will be an increase of 64% in Hispanic graduates and 23% in Asian/Pacific Islanders.
However, this demographic change raises some concerns. Hispanic, black, and Native American students tend to academically fall behind their Caucasian and Asian counterparts. And Hispanic and black students tend to live and attend schools in areas of greater poverty than whites. Leaders in education need to tackle some key issues regarding academic and economic disparities between minorities and whites, not to mention racial division and resource availability.