Student Populations

The latest trends, laws and resources for a variety of student populations. Every child has different needs, and this section offers helpful information for LGBT, special education, gifted, low-income, and minority students.
View the most popular articles in Student Populations:
Updated November 11, 2014 |
White Students are Now the Minority in U.S. Public Schools
Increasing birth rates among immigrant families from Asia and Central and South America, combined with lower birth rates among white families, means that for the first time in history, public school students in the United States are majority-minority. This shift in demographics poses difficulties for schools as they work to accommodate children of varying language abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.
It has been an ongoing trend for nearly two decades – while the total number of students in American public schools has risen, the percentage of those students who are white has steadily fallen. According to the Pew Research Center, in 1997, over 63 percent of the 46.1 million U.S. public school students were white. Today, white students comprise just 49.7 percent of the 50 million students enrolled.
 
These changes in the racial make-up of the nation’s public schools are reflective of where the overall population is headed. According to recent estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2060, the white population in this country is projected to fall by more than 20 million people, while the Hispanic population is set to double. Black and Asian populations are expected to increase as well, although at rates far slower than Hispanics. By 2043, the nation as a whole is projected to become majority-minority.
Public School Diversity
 
While the white student population has declined by 15 percent since 1997, according to Pew, both Hispanic and Asian populations have rapidly increased. In that same time frame, the number of Hispanic students has grown by 50 percent to 12.9 million students. The number of Asian students has also seen significant growth, jumping 46 percent to 2.9 million students. The African-American student population, which this fall will number 7.7 million, has remained relatively steady over the last twenty years.
 
Much has been made recently of the number of migrant
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Updated December 16, 2014 |
‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Seeks to Give African-American Boys a Boost
President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aims to improve academic opportunities for students of color, especially African-American boys.
It is no secret that youth of color, particularly black boys, face a mountain of obstacles to success. Black boys are more likely than their white peers to be suspended or expelled from school, more likely to drop out, less likely to graduate from high school, more likely to be unemployed, in prison, and die at an early age. These are problems that school districts, cities, and states have sought to fix for years and years, but with only pockets of success. It is a bleak outlook, but one that the Obama administration seeks to change with the most comprehensive reform and aid effort yet.
About the Initiative
 
The overarching purpose of My Brother’s Keeper is to address gaps in educational and related services that persist for young men of color. The initiative is a cooperation between local, state, and federal agencies, private business, and non-profits to bring essential services to the nation’s neediest youth. In total, the initiative includes five primary goals:
  • Prepare Children to Learn – Provide support programs that foster intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth so children are prepared to begin school.
  • Boost Literacy – Support early learning initiatives that get children reading at grade level by age 8.
  • Help Kids Graduate from High School Prepared for College – Promote educational programs that prepare students for success in postsecondary environments and facilitate training for in-demand jobs.
  • Facilitate Workforce Readiness – Assist youth in finding quality jobs that allow them to support themselves and their
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Updated March 03, 2015 |
New York’s Schools are the Most Segregated in the Nation
A recent report reveals that public schools in New York isolate students not only by race, but also by socioeconomic status. In this article, we examine the extent of segregation in New York’s schools, its causes, and potential solutions to this problem.
On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Yet, 60 years later, public schools across the nation continue to be highly segregated based on race and socioeconomic status. Curiously, America’s most segregated schools are not in the Deep South, but in New York, a state that has expansive ethnic, cultural, social, and economic diversity. Perhaps even more surprising, New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world, also has one of the most segregated school districts in the country.
 
Segregation by the Numbers
 
According to a report by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, school segregation in New York is widespread and occurs not just in metropolitan New York City, but also in rural areas and in urban locales upstate. However, as the nation’s largest public school system with 1.1 million students, the New York City Public Schools greatly influence the depth and breadth of the segregation problem. And a significant problem it is. Although the number of Asian and Latino students has dramatically increased since the late 1980s, exposure of these groups to white students has decreased. In fact, of New York City’s 32 school districts, 19 had less than 10 percent white enrollment as recently as 2010. Some of New York City’s schools, particularly charter and magnet schools, are identified by the authors of the report as being so segregated that they are classified as “apartheid schools.”
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Published December 16, 2009 |
Studies show that special education students are a prime target of campus violence. Learn about what public schools can do to keep these at-risk students safe.
Students enrolled in special education programs must face many obstacles on a daily basis. Not only must they learn to manage their physical, emotional, mental, or learning disabilities, but they simultaneously overcome the academic challenges all students face.

Unfortunately, several new reports indicate that special education students may also have to deal with another problem: they are more likely than their non-special-education peers to be targets of school violence.
 
The Problem for Special Education Students in Public Schools
 
Higher Risk of Being Victims of Gun Violence
 
In Fall 2009, Chicago public school officials analyzed more than 500 cases of gun violence that had occurred within the past five years. The goal was to identify patterns that indicated which students were most likely to be victims of gun violence. The study's findings, as reported by the New York Times, showed that while special education students make up only 16% of the city's overall public school population, they comprised 24% of the victims of gun violence.
 
Rodney Estvan, an outreach coordinator at a Chicago-based disability rights group, told Northwestern University's Medill Reports that special education students will often "by their very nature be more confrontational. They will be more likely to be arrested. They will be more likely to be suspended from school. They will be more likely to be expelled from school."
 
Higher Risk of Being Hit by Teachers
 
A recent study indicates that special education students are also at increased risk of incurring violence from their teachers, according to the
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Published August 13, 2009 |
Does Your Child Have a Written Expression Disability? Dysgraphia Symptoms and Public School Solutions
Learn about the symptoms of dysgraphia, a written disability that impacts otherwise intelligent students, as well as the means of support available through public schools.
While dyslexia, reading struggles, and language-based learning disabilities have been points of focus for public schools, many experts are now shining light on written expression issues. With a rising number of students struggling with conveying their thoughts, feelings, or ideas in writing, public school leaders are striving to create programs to support written expression disabilities.

Labeled dysgraphia, a written expression disability is essentially a cognitive struggle that inhibits an otherwise intelligent child from explicating ideas in a written form. To find out if your child is coping with an undiagnosed written expression disability, learn more about the symptoms, as well as how your child's public school can offer support.
 
The Symptoms of Dysgraphia

Often referred to as the "sibling" of dyslexia, dysgraphia can be identified from a variety of symptoms. As the National Institute for Neurological Disorders reveals, "Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities... (causing) a person's writing to be distorted or incorrect."
 
Expanding on this definition, Audiblox, a cognitive educational company, reports that the most common signs of dysgraphia typically include:
  • Illegible writing and consistently poor handwriting
  • Inconsistent use of letters
  • Mixture of upper and lower case letters
  • Mixture of print and cursive letters
  • Irregular and inconsistent letter sizes
  • Irregular and inconsistent letter shapes
  • Incorrect spelling
  • Reading words incorrectly (i.e. saying "boy" instead of "child")
  • Unfinished words and sentences
  • General struggle to communicate through writing
Dysgraphic students often display frustrations when attempting to write thoughts and ideas in an organized manner. This is most obviously observed by a student's hate for writing. However, experts
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