Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Hispanic? Indian? Or Both?

In the midst of watching fireworks and Fourth of July parades, this piece in the New York Times about a trend among Latinos caught my eye. According to the story, U.S. Census figures show that the number of Amerindians who identify themselves as Hispanic has tripled since 2000, increasing from 400,000 to 1.2 million.

That alone didn’t surprise me. After all, the Latinos includes people of all races, and many Latin American countries are predominantly indigenous.

But it did make me wonder about the implications for school districts — which use racial and ethnic demographic data to secure federal funding, compile school rankings, and track achievement on standardized tests. If more Latino students are marking the American Indian box on school forms, will that change or skew data? Has the percentage of Latinos suddenly started to drop at schools in the districts you cover? And what does that mean in terns of programs, funding, or data keeping?

The answers could make for an interesting local angle on the trend.