Texas Schools and DIversity

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In 2007-2008, Texas schools had a large ethnic distribution of students. Specifically, African American students made up 14.3% of the overall student population; the Hispanic student population was 47.2%; and 34.8% of the student population was White. The smallest groups represented included Native American and Asian/Pacific Islanders with Native American students and teachers representing only 0.3% of students (Texas Education Agency, 2009). According to demographic projections, minority populations are expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years (NCES, 2007). The students who were the most at-risk academically represented the African American and Hispanic populations. As a result of their at-risk status, they were not adequately prepared and did not have the skills for higher educational attainment (Carter, 2009).

Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), schools are responsible for ensuring all students, including students from culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse backgrounds, have the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach proficiency on challenging state academic standards and assessments. The goal of NCLB is not only to provide students with a quality education, but also to close the achievement gap that exists between African American and Hispanic students and their White counterparts, a gap that has remained wide for the past 10 years (Chartock, 2010). The concern for the low achievement of African Americans and other students of color has led researchers to advocate for teachers to become more culturally responsive in their teaching (Au, 1993; Blair & Jones, 1998; Delpit, 1995; Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1994). Demographic change poses new challenges for schoo...

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...dents’ cultural diversity. Culturally responsive educators must create culturally responsive classrooms, schools, and eventually school districts. The schools must transform into a culturally responsive educational system (Brown, 2007).

Statement of the Problem

Brown (1998) stated that the United States is no longer a European, Anglo-Saxon America. Instead it is one that is comprised of different people from various places who contribute to the improvement of the nation. Diversity permeates into our government, communities and schools. “This change in the racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the student population is not the problem. The problem lies in the way educators have responded to that change” (Brown, 2007, p. 57). The current changes in diversity are inevitable. “Diversity is not a choice, but our responses to it certainly are” (Howard,
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