|Southern schools to face a large milestone|
|Written by Megan Maginity, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 13 January 2010 20:12|
Southern United States schools are maintaining two majorities; more than half of public schools are poor and more than half of the students are minorities.
With the influx of Latinos and other ethnic groups, the South contains a large number of minority groups compared to the Northern United States.
Minority students are expected to exceed 50 percent of the public school population by 2020.
The share of students poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches is on the rise in every state, according to a Southern Education Foundation Research Report.
Out of 15 states in the report, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas all have the largest majority of low-income and minority students.
Virginia is the only southern state that has neither, according to the report.
SEF is concerned that these new numbers will contribute to a vicious cycle of poor academic performance of schools and students in the region if the school systems do not go through a major change.
With poor performance, a large gap is created between achievement and graduation rates.
In addition, with the rise of minority students, districts in places like Tennessee are scrambling to hire additional teachers of English to teach as a second language to students.
College of Education Professor Alan Bates said, “A lot of my students will definitely be teaching English as a second language someday.”
Bates said education can improve in every part of the country, however.
“Changing classrooms in terms of demographics, we expose our students to different experiences based on different ethnic backgrounds and certain needs,” he said.
Holding the two majorities of poor students and minority students in the United States, the South is searching for a way to improve education.
Districts are experimenting with ways to attract more experienced teachers to high-risk schools.
The problem arises because the quality of education is being questioned. Some schools are unable to adapt to the changes taking place.
Professor Anthony Lorsbach of the College of Education said, “ISU has a four step definition of diversity that the College of Education students need to go through.
“Students need to complete 50 hours teaching in at least two of the four diverse categories – English language learners, students of color, low income and students with disabilities.”
Having lived in Alabama, Lorsbach had input on how the schools work.
“Schools in the South are funded differently and people did not want to spend money to fix schools.
“The schools are suffering.”