Written by: Libby Julia
The demographics in Texas schools is representative of the change in its population. Of the 4.8 million school children pre-k thru 12th grade, 49% are Hispanic. Hispanic enrollment is surpassing white enrollment in all but rural areas. “Across Texas, 349 districts are majority Hispanic, 18 more than last year and 104 more than in 2000. Texas has 670 white majority school districts, down 97 from a decade ago.”
None of this should come as a surprise to school officials as dramatic population changes for Texas have long been projected by demographers but unfortunately districts have been in denial and are not prepared for these changes.
According to Jacqueline Lain, associate executive director for the Texas Association of School Boards, some of the changes that need to take place include-
· More flexibility to accommodate half-day students who work to support their families
· More public charter schools to provide flexibility and innovation,
· More dual language programs
· More Hispanic school teachers
· Increased focus on Hispanic contributions to our history and culture
Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities warns that those needs cannot be met with Texas’s current tax system but key lawmakers say they will not seek to increase taxes. This could be damaging to the state and its residents as Mr. McCowns states, “Education is not something we do for children. Education is something we do to children for society. This demographic is an asset — if it’s educated. It’s a liability if it’s not.”
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