The Racial School Tide is Changing: Is Your Child's School Ready for the ‘Majority-Minority’?
Up until the time of high school I was used to being in classrooms where most everybody came from my neighborhood and looked like me. In those classrooms there was no self-conscious cringe if I said the word ‘ain’t’ or revealed that my summer vacation was not to Cancun, but rather a two week trip to grandmas in Florence, SC. In high school the African American Students (AAS) Club was the only place where I could gather with other students who on some level identified, just as much as me, with the frustration of being overlooked in the school as well as with Biggie Smalls and Jodeci. When it was time to leave AAS meetings I would think to myself, ‘I sure wish I shared classes with more Brown and Black faces’. In a few years my children, especially my two youngest, may not have to contemplate such a thought. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) predicts that in the next year or two, minority students will be in the majority.
Currently: About 15 percent of all public school students — or about 7.9 million students — are African American. About half of African American students attend schools where the majority of students are African American, 26 percent attend schools where most students are white. Latino students make up nearly 25 percent of public school students — the largest group after white students. What steps are public schools taking to ensure that they are adequately prepared to address the shift in the racial make-up of public schools? Not much as many public schools take a color blind approach to education. A color blind approach to education means that educators refuse to acknowledge that they see race. Those of a color blind mentality stick to the belief that there is no real difference in children outside of how they learn. But to the contrary, it’s important for educators to know how to reach children, to not see them as a stereotype but as potential. A color blind approach to education also means that there is no recognition of the inequities, which grossly impact children of color, associated with school zoning policies and parents’ educational background and income. With seats of public schools set to be filled with more Black and Brown students in the next few years I realize that my children won’t have as hard of a time trying to find faces that look like them. However, they will still have to contend with the issues of inequities in education which still reign supreme.
How do you think schools should prepare for the major shift/change in the racial make-up of schools?