Demographics & Diversity

Overview

Demographics & Diversity

As the U.S. population grows more diverse, it's impossible to tell the story of American education without considering the many ways our schools and colleges are shaped by the demographic make-up of the people inside them.

As the U.S. population grows more diverse, it’s impossible to tell the story of American education without considering the many ways our schools and colleges are shaped by the demographic make-up of the people inside them.

Think about how your own socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender identity, immigration status, native language, residence, religion, and similar factors influenced which schools you attended. Think about how those factors affected your experiences in school. Think about how they constrain your options as a parent or guardian, and what they meant for our own parents and guardians to obtain the quality of education they wanted for their children.

Many educators agree that children and young adults benefit when classrooms and campuses comprise students and teachers representing a variety of races, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, immigration statuses, sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Yet demographics go hand-in-hand with disparities. Many schools and universities remain stubbornly segregated and student outcomes diverge dramatically among groups. Indeed, the country has a long legacy of educational haves and have-nots, and the dividing line between those groups has often fallen along demographic lines.

Reporters must consider how students’ experiences on campus and in classrooms affect their opportunities to learn — and how those experiences are shaped by their demographic differences. 

Since 2014, nonwhite children comprise the majority of the more than 50 million students in the country’s public schools. Latinos are the only racial group of new college students that is steadily growing. Projections show both those trends will continue. 

Historical data make clear that African American and Latino students have made considerable gains over the past few decades. Yet children of color are more frequently and more severely disciplined than white students. Racism and bigotry are daily realities for many students, in part evidenced by increasing reports of hate crimes on campuses. 

Other differences matter as well. Food and housing insecurity threatens to force students to choose between basic survival and their education. LGBTQ students are more frequently the victims of physical and sexual violence and bullying at high schools, according to a national study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diversity or lack thereof among teachers must also be considered, as more than 80 percent of the nation’s public school teachers are white.

Whatever the issue, the same questions often are at its root: Who gets to go to which schools? What resources are available to support which students while they’re in school? The answers often cut along demographic lines, and can reveal whether education policies successfully create diverse learning environments and offer equal opportunities for students to succeed. 

Here is a guide to tackling this enormous topic that has major implications for every student and parent, and for any school or college in the country.

Updated May 2020

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Data/Research: Demographics & Diversity

Aside from instruction, research is a primary output of major universities. While some research centers are listed here, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all sources relevant to demographics and diversity in education. Check out what university-sponsored think tanks, research centers and consortiums might be near you, for they may have examined educational issues and collected data specific to your coverage area and readership.

General

National Center for Education Statistics

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History and Background: Demographics & Diversity

Covering demographics and diversity in the P-12 school system requires a careful review of the history so reporters understand the totality of the landscape.

School Segregation

Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 made school segregation unconstitutional. But excellent reporting and research throughout the country shows that, in the past six decades, division among racial groups in our educational systems not only hasn’t been remedied — in many places, it has gotten worse.

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Demographics & Diversity in Higher Education

To appropriately cover demographics and diversity in higher education, it’s important to first understand some of the background on this topic.

Race-conscious admissions

How and if colleges should factor race — and more specifically, race as it speaks to educational inequity — into their admissions processes is a perennial debate.

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Student Debt and Race

A college degree is widely considered one of the most reliable paths toward upward economic mobiilty. But for minority students, that promise often falls short. That’s in part because student debt exacerbates existing racial wealth gaps.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Complaint Alleges Alabama Denied Enrollment to Latino Student

A civil rights organization alleges that a teen who was born in Mexico was denied enrollment to an Alabama school district based on his national origin.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is demanding that the Fort Payne City School System admit the student by April 14. The SPLC said that the 17-year-old student was born in Mexico but moved to the United States at the age of one.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Denver Group Sees Improvement in Colorado School Discipline Data

An organization of Latino parents and youth has released a new report praising Colorado for progress the state has made in the discipline of Latino students.

The group has been critical of how strict disciplinary policies can contribute to a “school-to-prison pipeline,” reports Fox News Latino. The organization previously accused Colorado schools of using zero tolerance policies that swept students of color into the legal system.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Lawsuit Alleges New Mexico Shortchanges English Language Learners

A Latino civil rights organization has filed a lawsuit against the state of New Mexico, alleging that its public school system is denying students from low-income backgrounds and English language learners access to a quality education. 

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed suit on Tuesday, on behalf of parents from around the state and their school-aged children.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Providence Talks’ Targets Closing Language Gap

A new program offered by the city of Providence, R.I., is taking a different approach to early learning.

“Providence Talks” aims to close the language gap that exists between wealthy and poor children before they even begin preschool. 

Numerous studies have fund that poor children tend to learn fewer words than wealthy children, often as a function of their social interactions with their parents. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Federal Civil Rights Data Shines Light on Education Inequality

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a treasure trove of data that is worth a look.

It includes easily searchable school and school district reports and summaries for 2011-12 and 2009-10 on a wide variety of topics. In particular, it examples any racial and ethnic disparities.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Report: Georgia Must Address Needs of Immigrant Students

Georgia schools are grappling with how to educate growing numbers of immigrant students, while lacking a history of serving such a population.

The state faces a new reality of a rapidly growing and youthful Latino population, without the experience of states such as Texas and California. 

A new report from the Migration Policy Institute, “Education Reform in a Changing America: Promoting High School and College Success for Immigrant Youth,” concludes that the state still has a long way to go in meeting the needs of immigrant students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Brown Center Report: Common Core, Homework and Shanghai’s Success

The third installment of the Brown Center Report on Public Education is out from the Brookings Institution, and author Tom Loveless provides plenty of food for thought in three key areas: the potential effectiveness of the new Common Core State Standards; whether American students are being saddled with  significantly more homework; and an examination of Shanghai’s reputation for producing some of the best 15-year-old math students in the world.  

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Texas Teachers Push for Mexican American Studies

Some south Texas teachers are campaigning for the creation of a Mexican American Studies curriculum to be taught in the state’s public schools.

The El Paso Times reports that the school board of the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso voted to urge the Texas State Board of Education to offer Mexican American Studies content in literature and history classes pre-K through twelfth grade.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Fla. Governor Supports In-State Tuition Proposal

Despite having one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, Florida legislators have struggled for years to drum up support for a measure granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant college students.

Now the proposal is beginning to look more within reach. Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, expressed support for the measure for the measure this week.

Report

School Discipline Data: A Snapshot of Legislative Action – CSG Justice Center

Research suggests that suspensions, expulsions, and other disciplinary actions that remove  youth from their classrooms put students at greater risk for poor academic and behavioral outcomes. These students are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, receive future disciplinary actions, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. Youth of color, English Language Learners (ELLs), LGBT youth, and those with identified special education needs tend to experience exclusionary discipline actions at higher rates than their peers.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

After-School Learning Advocates Hope Research Leads to More Federal Dollars

Learning doesn’t stop when the last bell of the day rings, but for most communities, money to support after-school activities is tight.

The largest federal grant program dedicated to learning outside of class – after school, before school and during summers – is roughly only $1.15 billion for the entire nation, for instance. The AfterSchool Alliance, an advocacy group, notes that of all the money spent on education outside of normal school hours, Uncle Sam only kicks in about a tenth. Parents, meanwhile, contribute three-quarters of the dollars spent in total.

Advanced math students solve a problem set at Glendale High School in Glendale, Calif. (Photo credit: Mikhail Zinshteyn)
Blog: The Educated Reporter

States That Spend The Least On Students Set To Grow The Most

New projections on student enrollment from the federal government hint at the financial pressure many states will face as their student populations rise considerably in the next decade. 

The data, released this week by the National Center on Education Statistics, forecast that the nation’s number of public school students from prekindergarten through high school will grow by 7 percent between 2011 and 2022. Leading the charge are states in the Western and Southern parts of the United States.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Kansas Rep. Wants to Track Students’ Immigration Status

A Kansas state representative wants to begin asking children who enroll in public schools for proof of citizenship or legal presence in the United States.

Republican Rep. Allan Rothlisberg said that he wants to track how much money is spent on educating undocumented immigrants.

Even if he is successful, the 1982 Plyler v. Doe decision concluded that all children are entitled to a free public education, no matter their status. Rothlisberg said he is aware that schools must follow the law.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Enrollment Increases in Oregon Schools

Latino children now make up one out of every four first-graders in the state of Oregon, reports The Oregonian.

According to the state, about 22 percent of all Oregon students are Hispanic. Latinos are the fastest growing subgroup in the state. About 125,000 Oregon students are Hispanic and 364,000 are white.

The newspaper reports that eight school districts in Oregon are now majority-Latino in enrollment.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

STEM and Student Skills: Join Our EWA Seminar in Los Angeles

Are you an education journalist? Do you want to know more about how schools are preparing students for future workforce, and what changes are coming to your local classrooms when it comes to computer science and math instruction? Are you familiar with the latest research on how students learn, and whether current instructional methods are aligned with those findings?  Would you like to be a more confident writer when it comes to reporting on student demographics?

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Poll: Latinos Link Education to ‘American Dream’

The American Dream narrative is a storyline so deeply embedded in American popular culture that as writers, we use it often in our storytelling.

Most journalists who seek to write narrative stories have used this dream concept before. I framed a story about a young man, Luis Duarte, from El Salvador who went on to attend Harvard University, around this theme. He struggled with the decision to attend Harvard because he worked while in high school to help financially support his family and he was afraid to leave them behind.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

‘Dream Project’ Helps Undocumented Students

The Virginia-based nonprofit “Dream Project” provides counseling and scholarships to undocumented immigrant students so they can attend college.

The group is especially important because Virginia does not offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. The program offers mentoring, professional and academic activities and scholarships of about $1,000-$2,000 to deserving students.

Report

Early Reading Proficiency in the United States

This KIDS COUNT data snapshot finds 80 percent of fourth-graders from low-income families and 66 percent of all fourth-graders are not reading at grade level. While improvements have been made in the past decade, reading proficiency levels remain low. Given the critical nature of reading to children’s individual achievement and the nation’s future economic success, the Casey Foundation offers recommendations for communities and policymakers to support early reading. Early reading proficiency rates for the nation and each state are provided.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Do Small Schools Work for Latinos?

Former New York CIty Mayor Michael Bloomberg viewed breaking up large failing high schools and creating smaller ones as one potential remedy to closing the achievement gap.

Now his successor, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio will have the opportunity to reverse the program.

In a commentary piece for Education Week, University of California, Berkeley education professor Bruce Fuller writes that many of the smaller campuses just furthered segregation by race and class. Small schools sometimes have just 200 students.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Analysis Offers Peek at College-Age Student Demographics of Future

A new interactive tool created by the Chronicle of Higher Education offers some insights into the rapidly changing face of college students in America.

The publication took a look at the demographic profile of four-year-olds versus 18-year-olds in an effort to project what college-aged students will be like 14 years from now.

The takeaway: there will be far fewer young people of college-going age, more of that smaller pool of students will be Hispanic or Asian, and fewer will be black or white.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Few Latino Students Take AP Computer Science

While Latinos are making great strides in taking more Advanced Placement courses and exams, they still lag significantly in some specific courses.

For example, while many Hispanic students take AP Spanish classes, very few are taking computer science. Education Week reported on an analysis by Georgia Tech scientist Barbara Ericson of 2013 trends in computer science test-takers. She found that in eight states, no Hispanic students took the exam, including Kansas and Nebraska.

Report

Education Longitudinal Study of 2002: A First Look at 2002 High School Sophomores 10 Years Later

This First Look presents findings from the third, and final, follow-up survey of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002). ELS:2002 provides a wealth of information from multiple sources (tested achievement, questionnaire, and administrative records) about the factors and circumstances related to the performance and social development of the American high school student over time. This report draws on ELS:2002 data collected in 2012 to describe the outcomes of the cohort at about age 26, approximately 10 years after they were high school sophomores.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Closing the Gaps: Improving Outcomes and Opportunities for English Language Learners

This week, we’re revisiting some of the top sessions from EWA’s 66th National Seminar held at Stanford University. We asked journalists who attended to contribute posts, and today’s guest blogger is Trevon Milliard of the Las Vegas Review-JournalStream any session from National Seminar in your browser, or subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Troubling Time Capsule: JFK on the State of Public Education

With today marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death, I thought I would share a post I wrote last year.

In his commencement speech at San Diego State College, the president of the United States covered unsurprising territory in describing the challenges facing the nation’s public schools – inequities for minority students, a high dropout rate, and the need for better teacher training.

Veterans Day: Leaving the Battlefield for the College Classroom
Blog: The Educated Reporter

Veterans Day: Leaving the Battlefield for the College Classroom

At EWA’s Higher Education Seminar, held earlier this fall at Northeastern University, we examined the challenges of military personnel making the transition from soldiers to students. Given today’s holiday, it seemed like a good time to share a post from my EWA colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn.

Far more students seeking higher education degrees are part-time, older than the traditional 18-22 set and well into their careers. And colleges have been flagged for their lagging efforts to address the unique needs of these mature students.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The College Admissions ‘Match’ Game: Should Preference Play Role in the Process?

EWA held its annual Higher Education Seminar recently at Boston’s Northeastern University. We invited some of the education journalists in attendance to contribute posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Brian McVicar of the Grand Rapids Press. For more content from the seminar, including stories, podcasts, video, check out EdMedia Commons

EWA Radio

The Changing Face of College

The next few years could be a turning point for higher education, as the traditional student population starts to shift dramatically. How long will the total number of new high school graduates continue to decline? Of that pool of students, what percentages will be black and Latino or from low-income backgrounds? What will these changes herald for postsecondary education?

EWA Radio

Black and Latino Males: Getting To and Through College

Shaun Harper, director of the Center for Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, previews new research on how New York City addressed the challenge of guiding more of its black and Latino male students to postsecondary success. Recorded Saturday, Sept. 28 at EWA’s 2013 Higher Ed Seminar, Guess Who’s Coming to Campus: What Demographic Changes Mean for Colleges and Reporters.

EWA Radio

Elizabeth Warren on Student Debt and College Costs

Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) discusses rising college costs and student debt reform at EWA’s 2013 Higher Ed seminar Sept. 28, 2013. Please note: Due to a faulty microphone, the sound quality during the first part of the Q&A is shaky. Because the audio is not completely obscured, the event is presented here in its entirety. The audio for Sen. Warren’s speech and the second half of the Q&A is normal.

New Polls Show Americans Frustrated With State of Education
Blog: The Educated Reporter

New Polls Show Americans Frustrated With State of Education

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, EWA’s Emily Richmond talks with Phi Delta Kappa’s Bill Bushaw about a new Gallup/PDK poll on attitudes toward public education. Watch it here!

The PDK/Gallup poll generated some media buzz, and when viewed alongside two other education polls released this week, reveals a populace that has an ambivalent view on the state of U.S. schools. 

Catch up with news coverage of the polls’ results and responses from stakeholders below:

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Government Report Suggests Racial Achievement Gap Narrowing

A new national study conducted by the federal government shows the achievement gap between white students and minorities has narrowed among nine and 13 year-olds since the 1970s, yet has remained mostly flat among 17 year-olds.

Released by the makers of the gold standard of student assessments, National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), the newly published findings are part of an ongoing study that measure students’ understanding of mathematics and reading.

Below is a sampling of the press coverage.

How I Did the Story: Reporting From a Turnaround School in “Following Trevista”
Multimedia

How I Did the Story: Reporting From a Turnaround School in “Following Trevista”

Jenny Brundin of Colorado Public Radio talks about following a group of teachers, administrators and students going through a turnaround effort at a failing school in Denver. “Trevista” was awarded first prize, Single-Topic News, Series or Feature in Broadcast in EWA’s 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting. Recorded at EWA’s 66th National Seminar, May 4, 2013, at Stanford University.

*Please note: Due to technical difficulties during recording, the audio in the first half of this video is distorted. There is nothing wrong with your speakers.

EWA Radio

Opportunity Gaps and Out of School Factors

Much attention has focused on achievement gaps among children from different demographic groups, and on teacher effectiveness as the chief in-school influence on student performance. But what about factors that carry more weight than teachers? And how can society close opportunity gaps often associated with widely decried achievement gaps in school? Sarah Garland, The Hechinger Report (moderator); Prudence Carter, Stanford Graduate School of Education; Michael Petrilli, Thomas B.

EWA Radio

Urban School Reform: Beyond Stars and Scandals

Do reporters who cover major efforts to improve schools focus on incremental developments at the expense of the big picture? Do they pay too much attention to leaders with star power and too little to quieter contributors? The authors of two new books on urban education reflect on media coverage of efforts to revamp big-city schools. Moderator: Benjamin Herold, WHYY; Richard Colvin, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship; David Kirp, University of California, Berkeley. Recorded at EWA’s 66th National Seminar, “Creativity Counts: Innovation in Education and the Media,” May 2-4, 2013

Seminar

Finding Common Ground: Common Core and ELLs
What Common Core Standards Mean for English Language Learners

Several urban districts and some states are quickly translating Common Core proficiencies into new teaching practices and more complex classroom activities. This represents a sharp departure from the “basic skills” drilling experienced by many English-language learners under high-stakes accountability policies.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

A Troubling Time Capsule: JFK On The State Of Education

In his commencement speech at San Diego State College, the President of the United States covered unsurprising territory in describing the challenges facing the nation’s public schools – inequities for minority students, a high dropout rate, and the need for better teacher training.

What might be surprising is that the president was John F. Kennedy, and he was addressing the class of 1963.

Educating Latinos: The Game-Changing Stories Behind the Numbers
Multimedia

Educating Latinos: The Game-Changing Stories Behind the Numbers

On May 31, EWA took part in a special webcast to help journalists understand key issues in Latino education as part of the College Board’s — Prepárate™: Educating Latinos for the Future of America. Panelists: Mark Hugo López from the Pew Hispanic Center Frances Contreras, author, associate professor and director of the Higher Education Program at the University of Washington Alfred Herrera, assistant vice provost for academic partnerships at UCLA and undocumented student advocate Katherine Leal Unmuth, award-winning education journalist, EWA member and blogger at latinoedbeat.org.

Webinar

Deciding Diversity: The Supreme Court Reconsiders Affirmative Action
53 minutes

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will take on the issue of affirmative action in college admissions for the first time since 2003. The plaintiff in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin argues that her race was the deciding factor when she was denied admission to the school. Regardless of the outcome, this case will have major consequences for schools around the country for years to come.

Report

The Grandchildren of Brown: The Long Legacy of School Desegregation
University of California, Berkeley

Researcher Rucker Johnson finds a considerable impact of school desegregation that persists to influence the outcomes of the next generation, including increased math and reading test scores, reduced likelihood of grade repetition, increased likelihood of high school graduation and college attendance, improvements in college quality/selectivity, and increased racial diversity of student body at their selected college. The findings demonstrate that part of the intergenerational transmission of inequality can be attributable to school quality related influences.

Webinar

Homeless Students: Covering the School Safety Net
1 Hour, 3 minutes

From Maine to California, school districts are reporting significant increases in the number of homeless students. Our webinar takes a closer look at the underlying issues, and also gives participants a blueprint for localizing this important story. Our presenters will include Barbara Duffield, policy director of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children; Pamela Hosmer, Program Manager for the San Diego Unified School District’s Children and Youth in Transition program; and Dr.

Alex Kotlowitz on “The Interrupters”
Multimedia

Alex Kotlowitz on “The Interrupters”

The author of There Are No Children Here talks with Wall Street Journal education reporter and EWA President Stephanie Banchero about The Interrupters, a documentary he made with director Steve James. The film, which follows a group of anti-violence activists working in inner-city Chicago, airs on the PBS series Frontline Feb. 14, 2012.

For more information: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/interrupters

Recorded at EWA’s 64th National Seminar, held in April 2011 in New Orleans.

Key Coverage

Test Scores Show Achievement Gap Narrows

“On average, 9-year-olds’ scores increased from 208 to 221, or 13 points, on the reading exam between 1971 and 2011-2012. With a score of 221, students are expected to “make an inference based on explicit information in a biographical sketch,” but likely can’t do things like find similarities between two characters or identify a paragraph’s main topic, the report says. Thirteen-year-olds’ scores increased by eight points, from 255 to 263, a level which means they cannot “support an opinion about a story using details.” Seventeen-year-olds only grew 2 points over that period, scoring a 287, a level at which they can “use understanding of a poem to recognize” the poem’s speaker but not explain key parts of the poem’s topic.” 

Report

National Charter School Study 2013

In the aggregate, charter school students in the 26 states in the new study gained an additional 8 days of learning each year in reading beyond their local peers in traditional public schools. The 2009 study found a loss of 7 days each year in reading among the students in the 16 states. In mathematics, charter school students in 2009 posted 22 fewer days of learning than their traditional public school counterparts; today there exists no significant difference in days of learning.

Organization

The Pew Hispanic Center

The Pew Hispanic Center is known for its research on a number of topics affecting Latinos in the United States. The center also offers robust research regarding the education of Hispanic students. Their research particularly emphasizes the impact of the shifting demographics the Latino population moreso than specific approaches to education policy.

Organization

The National Council of La Raza

The National Council of La Raza’s “education component is dedicated to increasing educational opportunities, improving achievement, supporting college-readiness, and promoting equity in outcomes for Latinos,” according to the organization’s website. Among the programs it operates are extended learning time options and early childhood education outreach.

Organization

The National Hispanic Education Coalition

The National Hispanic Education Coalition was organized as part of the Latino civil rights organization MALDEF. The coalition gathers 25 organizations that work to ensure that schools successfully education Hispanic students. “The HEC focuses upon federal legislative issues relating to education including the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Head Start Act, the Higher Education Act, adequate federal funding for education, and the educational concerns of English Language Learners.”

Organization

The National Council for Educating Black Children

The National Council for Educating Black Children was founded in 1986 by Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins, who gathered more than 30 community leaders and scholars to discuss the education of black children. Since then, the organization has worked to provide “a framework for collaborative community partnerships with public school districts to solve problems and accelerate achievement for all children, Black children in particular.”

Organization

The NAACP

The NAACP has been deeply invested in the educational opportunities and outcomes for students of color, starting with its groundbreaking legal push to desegregate public schools in the 1950s. Their “National Education Program strives to ensure that all students have access to an equal and high-quality public education by eliminating education-related racial and ethnic disparities in our public schools.”

Organization

The Latino Policy Forum

The Latino Policy Forum is a Chicago-based organization offering advocacy for a wide range of policy issues that affect Latinos, and is not singularly focused on education. Nevertheless, its work in that field—ranging from early childhood education to high school graduation—offers informed perspectives on the particular concerns of Latino families and students.

Organization

Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education, which launched in 2004 in Washington, D.C., “aims to accelerate higher education success for Latino students by providing data-driven analysis of the educational status of Latino students and by promoting education policies and institutional practices that support their academic achievement.” The organization’s research and its advocacy programs can be helpful resources for journalists covering issues regarding students of color and college completion.

Organization

The American Association of University Women

The American Association of University Women “advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.” Since its founding in 1881, the association has addressed the concerns of women in education, most recently focusing its efforts on attracting more female students to science and mathematics majors in college.

Organization

Aspira

Aspira has programs in eight states and Puerto Rico in addition to some nationwide efforts. The nonprofit “has been working at the grass-roots level to provide programs that encourage Hispanic students to stay in school, prepare them to succeed in the educational arena, develop their leadership skills, and to serve their community.”

Organization

The College Board

The College Board is known primarily for their SAT and Advanced Placement tests, which play critical roles in the college admissions process, both for students and admissions officers across the country. The College Board, however, does also have an Advocacy & Policy Center that actively researches key issues of college access and success. Their annual reports regarding trends in college costs and financial aid are key tools of the higher education beat.

Key Coverage

Charter School Performance Study Finds Small Gains

Charter students on the whole end the school year with reading skills eight instructional days ahead of public school kids, and perform at about the same rate as public school students in math, according to the study released Tuesday by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO.

Report

A Dozen Economic Facts About K-12 Education

The following facts help illustrate the state of educational attainment in the United States and the growing importance of education in determining people’s well-being. On many dimensions—lifetime earnings, incarceration rates, and life expectancy, to name a few—Americans who do not graduate from high school or college are increasingly falling behind those with a college degree. This paper explores both the condition of education in the United States and the economic evidence on several promising K-12 interventions that could improve the lives of Americans.

Key Coverage

In California, Push for College Diversity Starts Earlier

“ANAHEIM, Calif. — As the Supreme Court weighs a case that could decide the future of affirmative action in college admissions, California offers one glimpse of a future without it. California was one of the first states to abolish affirmative action, after voters approved Proposition 209 in 1996. Across the University of California system, Latinos fell to 12 percent of newly enrolled state residents in the mid-1990s from more than 15 percent, and blacks declined to 3 percent from 4 percent. At the most competitive campuses, at Berkeley and Los Angeles, the decline was much steeper.”

Report

Fast Facts

This feature of the NCES site offers quick bits on popular search items, like enrollment and demographics at the Pre-K, K-12, and college level.

Report

The Common Core of Data

This essential site offers a district- and school-level breakdown of enrollment, full-time staff, number of students on free and reduced lunch, and various demographic details.

Key Coverage

Crowded Out

“In a paper presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, higher education professors Bradley Curs and Ozan Jaquette find that increased enrollment of out-of-state students at public research universities – often done to generate increased tuition revenue in the face of decreased state appropriations – is taking a toll on racial and socioeconomic diversity at the institutions.”

Key Coverage

Out-of-State Enrollment Decreases Minority, Low-Income Student Enrollment

In a paper presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, higher education professors Bradley Curs and Ozan Jaquette find that increased enrollment of out-of-state students at public research universities – often done to generate increased tuition revenue in the face of decreased state appropriations – is taking a toll on racial and socioeconomic diversity at the institutions.

Key Coverage

Schools Are Using Social Networking to Involve Parents

Through Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and text messages sent in multiple languages, school staff members are giving parents instant updates, news, and information about their children’s schools. Not only that, but a number of districts are also providing parents access to Web portals where they can see everything from their children’s grades on school assignments to their locker combinations and what they’re served for lunch.

Key Coverage

With Police in Schools, More Children in Court

Since the early 1990s, thousands of districts, often with federal subsidies, have paid local police agencies to provide armed “school resource officers” for high schools, middle schools and sometimes even elementary schools. Hundreds of additional districts, including those in Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, have created police forces of their own, employing thousands of sworn officers.

Key Coverage

Which States Have Academic Performance Targets That Vary By Race?

To date, the Department of Education has approved waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for 34 states and the District of Columbia. These waivers allow states to set new academic performance targets for their students, as long as they make substantial gains in reducing the achievement gap in six years. Because of this, 23 states have now set targets that vary by race. Included in the interactive map: States that have academic performance targets that do not vary by race. States that have academic performance targets that do vary by race. States that do not currently have a waiver.

They are still required by NCLB to have 100% of their students test proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Key Coverage

Born as a Tribute but Faltering, a Bronx School Nears Its End

In the past few years, a quality education at Levin High School became harder to come by. Money for a college scholarship in Mr. Levin’s name dried up. A ball field that a Mets official helped pay for fell into disrepair. Computers sat untouched, applications to the school fell and the graduation rate sank to 31 percent, the fifth-lowest in the city.

Key Coverage

Upward Mobility

A comprehensive study by the Pew Economic Mobility Project documents that in the U.S. today, few poor people become even upper middle class.

Key Coverage

For New York City Parents, a Waiting List for Nearly Everything

If waiting in line in the predawn of a January morning for science camp registration sounds crazy, you do not have a New York City child born after 2004. For those children and their parents, especially in the neighborhoods of brownstone Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and the Upper West Side, not getting into activities, classes, sports teams — and even local schools — has become a way of life

Key Coverage

Federal Commission Urges Bold Steps to Boost Education Equity

If waiting in line in the predawn of a January morning for science camp registration sounds crazy, you do not have a New York City child born after 2004. For those children and their parents, especially in the neighborhoods of brownstone Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and the Upper West Side, not getting into activities, classes, sports teams — and even local schools — has become a way of life.

Key Coverage

Experts: Trained Police Needed for School Security

The National Rifle Association’s response to a Connecticut school massacre envisions, in part, having trained, armed volunteers in every school in America. But Agundez, school safety experts and school board members say there’s a huge difference between a trained law enforcement officer who becomes part of the school family—and a guard with a gun.

Key Coverage

In Southern Towns, ‘Segregation Academies’ Are Still Going Strong

A Hechinger Report analysis of private school demographics (using data compiled on the National Center for Education Statistics website) found that more than 35 such academies survive in Mississippi, many of them in rural Delta communities like Indianola. Each of the schools was founded between 1964 and 1972 in response to anticipated or actual desegregation orders, and all of them enroll fewer than two percent black students.

Key Coverage

Declining Enrollment Causing Problems for Hampton Roads School Districts

Demographers and local officials say the reasons for this marked decline in student numbers are myriad: smaller families, graying communities, less new housing development, families moving out of the area. But its effects touch all aspects of schools, from the number of employees to hire to how many cartons of milk to order or buses to deploy, even whether to build new schools or close old ones.

Key Coverage

State Falls Short on School Desegregation Requirements

Connecticut has run out of time to comply with a court order to reduce the inequities caused by the segregation of Hartford’s largely black and Hispanic school population. The state Department of Education on Thursday afternoon reported that 37 percent of Hartford students are now attending integrated schools — 4 percent shy of the number the state agreed to reach in a settlement five years ago.

Key Coverage

Advent of ‘Smart Drugs’ Raises Safety, Ethical Concerns

Evidence is still limited—but growing—that some chemicals can boost attention, memory, concentration, and other abilities related to academic performance. Researchers at the Society of Neuroscience conference here questioned whether it is safe and fair to allow healthy people to boost their brain function chemically, or use drugs to correct environmental factors like poverty or bad instruction that can lead to brain deficits similar to those that characterize medical conditions like attention-deficit disorders.

Key Coverage

Florida’s Race-Based Goals for students Spark Debate

The board went on to adopt the item Padget had highlighted: reading and math goals for students that varied by race, among other categories. Ever since, Florida has been embroiled in a debate about the message sent by its new race-based academic targets, which are lower for black and Hispanic students than for other children. The state, for example, wants 90 percent of its Asian students, 88 percent of its white students, 81 percent of its Hispanic students and 74 percent of its black students reading well by 2018.

Key Coverage

States Punch Reset Button With NCLB Waivers

The leeway to set the new academic goals tacitly acknowledges that the 100 percent goal is unrealistic. But it also means that members of racial and ethnic minorities, English-language learners, and students with disabilities will fail to master college- and career-readiness standards by the end of the 2016-17 school year at greater rates in most waiver states.

Key Coverage

Bostonians Committed to School Diversity Haven’t Given Up on Busing

Today the district is split into three large school zones and children are bused widely within them. But since only 13 percent of Boston public school students are white, and only 22 percent are middle class or affluent, politicians have begun to speak openly about the supposed futility of busing as a school desegregation tool. In his January 2012 State of the City address, Mayor Thomas Menino vowed to end widespread busing, speaking romantically about the neighborhood school model. “Pick any street. A dozen children probably attend a dozen different schools,” he said.

“Parents might not know each other; children might not play together. They can’t carpool, or study for the same tests.”

Key Coverage

Bostonians Committed to School Diversity Haven’t Given Up on Busing

Today the district is split into three large school zones and children are bused widely within them. But since only 13 percent of Boston public school students are white, and only 22 percent are middle class or affluent, politicians have begun to speak openly about the supposed futility of busing as a school desegregation tool. In his January 2012 State of the City address, Mayor Thomas Menino vowed to end widespread busing, speaking romantically about the neighborhood school model. “Pick any street. A dozen children probably attend a dozen different schools,” he said.

Report

Census’ 2011 Poverty, Income, and Health Insurance Data

The good news is that the number of uninsured Americans dropped by 1.3 million and the share of Americans without insurance fell by more than in any year since 1999; the fair news is that the poverty rate stayed flat after rising in the previous three years and seven of the previous 10; and the ugly news is that median household income fell by 1.5 percent after adjusting for inflation while income inequality widened significantly.

Key Coverage

Pancakes for School Lunch? Perfect When It’s 9:45 a.m.

Fuentes’ pre-kindergarten son sits down to lunch in New Orleans at 9:45 a.m. and her first-grade daughter eats at 10:20 a.m. Similarly, at a school in Florida’s Seminole County, lunch starts as early as 9 a.m. and a middle school in Queens, N.Y., recently announced it will be serving students lunch at 9:45 a.m. On this month’s early morning menu: mozzarella sticks, penne pasta and roasted chicken.

Key Coverage

L.A. Schools Moving Away From Zero Tolerance Policies

But a new partnership among Los Angeles city, police and school officials aims to support — rather than punish — students like Garcia before it’s too late. In a decisive step away from the zero tolerance policies of the 1990s, Los Angeles school police have agreed to stop issuing citations to truant students and instead refer them to city youth centers for educational counseling and other services to help address their academic struggles.

Key Coverage

Smart Start? Will Preschool Budget Cuts Damage A Generation

This reported article examines the benefits of early education access, how North Carolina leads the nation in Pre-K options for ages zero to five, and what cuts to the state’s vaunted early education program can mean for future academic success among the poor students affected by these programs.

Key Coverage

Biggest Back-to-School Purchase: A New Home?

“A new analysis of Census data by the real-estate services company Trulia Inc. shows that the quality of schools remains a crucial factor in where parents choose to buy homes. Of course, schools have always been closely tied to real-estate sales, but Trulia’s findings indicate that despite the collapse of the housing market, education is sometimes even more important than factors such as price, commute time and nearby amenities.”

Report

What Does Obama Really Believe In?

When Obama ran for president the first time, urban poverty was a major policy focus for his campaign. Senator Obama gave speeches on the issue, his campaign Web site had a dedicated poverty section with a variety of policy proposals, and in his platform, he committed his administration to “eradicating poverty,” pledging that “working together, we can cut poverty in half within 10 years.” But the official poverty rate has continued to rise under Obama.

Key Coverage

Latino Student Struggles Challenge Connecticut School Reformers

In Connecticut, policymakers are reassessing an education framework that has largely overlooked a fast-growing Hispanic population. The achievement gap in the state between whites and Hispanics is wide, and state funding for ELL programs has dropped since 1999, even though Hispanic school children make up one-fifth of all pupils in the state.

Key Coverage

Some Asians’ College Strategy: Don’t Check ‘Asian’

Asian-American students explain their suspicion that an institutional bias exists against them among college admissions decisions. The article points to evidence Asian-American students are not compared to the mean sample of applicants, but to other Asian Americans, making admissions that much harder since Asian Americans statistically outperform their peers in terms of grades and SAT or ACT scores.

Key Coverage

Chicago Public Schools Fails to Close Performance Gap

While overall African Americans have made gains on NAEP in the last two decades faster than Whites, that’s not the case in Chicago, as this Tribune article painstakingly details. The article looks at the national trend, and tries to piece together what is holding Chicago back. There’s also a critique of then school chief Arne Duncan’s decision to close down many schools by the current chief, Jean-Claude Brizard.

Key Coverage

Hispanic College Enrollment Spike Narrowing Gaps with Other Groups

Hispanics in 2010 represented 15 percent of the some 12 million students enrolled in two- and four-year colleges, a jump of 24 percent from the previous year. The article also tracks college enrollment figures per race, noting that whereas in 1967 some 13 percent of black 18-24-year-olds were enrolled in college, by 2010 that figure went up to 38 percent. Also, “Young black students continued to outnumber young Hispanic students by a dwindling margin at four-year colleges and universities.”

Report

The Condition of Education

This report is a federally-mandated analysis of education trends. It provides many statistics in chart form, such as this one: “Percentage of public school students in high-poverty schools, by race/ethnicity and school level: School year 2008-09.

Report

Stuck Schools Revisited: Beneath the Averages

This 2011 study looked at the role good schools play in student achievement. It notes that Maryland’s African American and Latino students attending high-performing schools did as well or better in reading than white students in other schools. However, that study also found only 7 percent of blacks and 12 percent of Hispanics were placed in top quintile of schools, versus 36 percent of the state’s white students.

Report

A National Analysis of School Racial Segregation, Student Achievement

This report considers the educational consequences of the considerable racial segregation that remains in schools today and the potential of controlled choice to address them. It begins with an extensive review of research regarding the effects of school integration. Previous research provides relatively strong evidence that desegregation helps minority students reach higher academic achievement and better long-term outcomes such as college attendance and employment.