The changing ethnic and racial texture of today's society has led to an increasing number of nonwhite populations living in the United States. In the year 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that people of color, namely African-American, Latino, Asian-American, and Native Americans, made up approximately 28 percent of the nation's population. The 2000 census also projected that people of color will make up close to 38 percent of the nation's population in 2025, and 47 percent by the year 2050. Coinciding with the increasing racial diversity in the United States has been an increase in the number of students from culturally diverse backgrounds in our nation's schools. The U.S. Department of Education stated that, in 2002, 40 percent of the nation's students enrolled in K-12 schools were students of color. Moreover, in large urban areas, such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Chicago, students of color composed even larger percentages of the overall student populations. 1
Along with the increasing student diversity in our nation's schools has come a decrease in the numbers of teachers of color and an increase in the number of white teachers, primarily female and middle class, most of whom are monolingual. According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 91 percent of the nation's public school teachers are white, and nearly three-quarters of them are women. While issues such as culture, class, and gender continue to be major issues influencing the teaching and learning of today's student body, race remains arguably the most difficult issue for classroom teachers to understand. 2 The persistent underachievement of racially
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Publication information: Book title: Defending Public Schools. Volume: 2. Contributors: Kathleen R. Kesson - Editor, E. Wayne Ross - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 149.
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