Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
NCES 2010-015
July 2010

Chapter 2. Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education Participation

Indicator 6: Care Arrangements
Indicator 7: Elementary and Secondary Enrollment
Indicator 8: Special Needs
      Snapshot of Hispanic and Asian Subgroups: English Language Learners
Indicator 9: Teacher Qualifications and Experience

This chapter examines characteristics of students in preprimary, elementary, and secondary education. Indicator 6 focuses on care arrangements for 4-year-olds from the birth cohort born in the United States in 2001. In 200506, rates of participation in center-based care were higher for White, Black, Asian, and American Indian/Alaska Native 4-year-olds than for Hispanic and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 4-year-olds.

Indicator 7 looks at components of elementary and secondary enrollment. The racial/ethnic distribution of public school students among the total enrolled in school has changed over time. Between 200001 and 200708, the percentage of White students in school decreased from 61 to 56 percent (indicator 7.1). During this same time period, the percentage of students who were Black and American Indian/Alaska Native remained unchanged, while the percentage of students who were Hispanic increased from 17 to 21 percent. In addition, the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students increased from 4 to 5 percent. In the 200708 school year, Vermont and Maine had the highest percentages of students who were White (95 and 94 percent, respectively), and the District of Columbia had the highest percentage of enrolled students who were Black (83 percent). New Mexico had the highest percentage of Hispanic students (56 percent), Hawaii had the highest percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students (73 percent), and Alaska had the highest percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students (25 percent). White students were concentrated in suburban and rural areas, with lower percentages residing in cities and towns. In contrast, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students were concentrated in cities and suburban areas. American Indian/Alaska Native students were clustered in rural areas (indicator 7.2).

A higher percentage of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students in public schools were eligible for the free and reduced-price lunch program (frequently used as a proxy measure of poverty) compared with their White and Asian/Pacific Islander peers. A higher percentage of Black and Hispanic students attended high-poverty schools (as determined by the percentage of students in school eligible for the free and reduced-lunch program) than did students of other racial/ethnic groups, while a lower percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander and White students attended high-poverty schools (indicator 7.5).

Indicator 8 explores the demographics of children who may require special services in order to address their disabilities or their difficulties speaking English. In 2007, greater percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native 6- to 21-year-olds were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act than was the case for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander 6- to 21-year-olds (indicator 8.1). Also, in 2007, greater percentages of Hispanic and Asian elementary and secondary students spoke a language other than English at home, compared with students of other racial/ethnic groups (indicator 8.2). In addition, higher percentages of Hispanic and Asian students spoke English with difficulty than students of other races/ethnicities.

The first section of indicator 9 examines the percentage of high school teachers who either have a major or certification in the subject that they consider their main teaching assignment. Twelve percent of teachers whose main assignment was secondary mathematics had neither a major nor a certification in that subject (indicator 9.1). The second section in this indicator focuses on "new" teachers, meaning those with less than 3 years of experience, by the racial/ethnic concentration of schools. Schools that were at least half White employed a smaller percentage of new teachers (10 percent) than did schools that were at least half Black (13 percent) or at least half Hispanic (15 percent) (indicator 9.2).