No other ethnic or racial group will do more to change the makeup of American schools over the next quarter-century than Hispanics.
They’re already the nation’s largest minority group among children under 18; in 25 years, projections show, one in every four elementary school pupils will be Hispanic.
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This historic trend presents challenges for schools. As a group, Hispanics perform well below average on national achievement tests, and their high school dropout rate is nearly four times that of their non-Hispanic white peers.
If educators want to prevent those statistics from persisting on an even larger scale than they do now, observers of the trend say, they need to act now.
One city that’s been struggling with those issues is Providence, R.I., where 50 percent of the district’s students now are of Latino origin, and many speak little or no English. How successfully the district addresses the needs of such students could provide a preview of how other school systems will fare.
Hispanics aren’t the only minority group that’s growing rapidly in U.S. schools, of course. This installment of Education Week‘s series on the demographic forces shaping public education in the new century also looks at the influx of Indian immigrants in the Silicon Valley district of Fremont, Calif.
Funding for this series is provided in part by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation.
A version of this article appeared in the November 08, 2000 edition of Education Week as Un Día Nuevo for Schools Overview