Students of Color Are Now the MajorityAug 24, 2022
The National Center for Education Statistics has shared the news from their 2020 and 2021 research. One of the striking statistics that I think we need to meditate on is that out of 49 million public school students, 27.2 million of them are students of color. White students comprise 22.4 million. Students of color have officially surpassed white students in public schools. This was predicted years ago and we are seeing the change now.
This is an important demographic shift that has many implications for those of us in the education field.
- White students are no longer the majority of public school students.
- Students of color and white students are close to being numerically equal in public schools, so the term minority no longer applies. Let us put it to rest.
- One salient point to research further is where students of color and white students are attending school, because we are still very segregated.
- Our curriculum and teaching practices need to shift to respond to the changes in demographics.
- Soon enough we will have more teaches of color joining the education field. Schools and governing bodies must also adjust to meet their needs.
- As student diversity increases, so should diversity be prioritized in other aspects of education.
In their profound book, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World, Dr. Alim and Dr. Paris explain that the future is multicultural and multiethnic. That future is now. Their stance and theory is one we must consider moving forward. Additionally, Dr. Gholdy Mohammad explains in Cultivating Genius, that to better serve our current reality, we must look to historical practices of these communities to which students of color belong, in order to develop intellect and criticality. She also says that identity-building must be seen as skill-building and that both must co-exist for effective learning and development to take place. One of the issues we've been seeing through social media is how teachers have been making harmful curricular mistakes in their quest to be inclusive and explore diversity. While these scenarios are not new, social media grants us a window to see what people of color have been naming for years. Therefore, we have to re envision what we teach in order to stay away from curricular violence [Jones].
All of this, then, surfaces many questions for us educators, one of which should be: what then do we teach and how do we teach it?
In Textured Teaching, I explain that we have to engage students of color by offering them the tools needed to work for freedom and responsiveness to their communities. Teaching all students antiquated concepts and a disconnected curriculum is part of how our schools are failing us. School, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. explained should help learners discern the true from the false and push them to critical thinking. This is not devoid from conversations and studies about social justice issues. In fact, it requires it.
What are your thoughts?
What do you think needs to change in education as we respond
to this new demographic shift & reality?
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