The U.S. Department of Education requires all states to collect information on the race and ethnicity of public school students. The federal government developed a new way to report ethnicity and race that includes new categories. The changes should provide a more accurate picture of the nation’s ethnic and racial diversity. In the spring of 2010, parents of all students will be asked to fill out a brief form to update the reporting of their student’s ethnicity and race.
If I have already provided this information to the school system, why must I provide it again?
In the past, forms for reporting race and ethnicity to the federal government allowed individuals to be identified in only one racial category. The new form enables individuals to be identified in ethnic and racial classifications and in more than one racial category. The federal government is requiring that ethnic and racial information for all students and staff be reported in this new way in order to reflect the nation’s diversity more accurately.
How will the information be used?
The data with the new ethnicity/race categories will be used in the same manner that racial/ethnic data are currently used. The new categories will replace the existing categories for use in all state and federally sponsored statistical data collections that include data on ethnicity or race. Some examples include student record cards and test results.
Is the federal government checking my immigration status?
No. This information will be maintained in student records only. It will NOT BE reported to any federal agency in a way that identifies your child. No one will check for immigration status from the information you give here.
Will the school release my student’s race and ethnicity to other parties?
Individual student records are protected by the Federal Education Records and Privacy Act (FERPA). The new race and ethnicity standards have no effect on FERPA’s protection of student records. FERPA does not designate race and ethnicity as directory information, and race and ethnicity have the same protection as any other non-directory information in a student’s education record.
I am Hispanic. Why do I have to answer more questions?
One of the major changes is the recognition that members of Hispanic populations can be of different races. The federal government would like to afford Hispanic/Latino Populations the opportunity to better describe themselves according to their culture and heritage. So yes, you will be asked to select one or more races, even if you have indicated that you are Hispanic/Latino.
How do I know I won’t be discriminated against after I’ve told you I belong to a minority group?
This is exactly why we need to maintain better racial and ethnic data bout our students. We are required to maintain this information about each individual in his or her record, in case a civil right investigation surfaces. Again, state and local guidelines are in place to ensure that racial and ethnic data will not be reported elsewhere in a way that you may be identified.
Who provides the information?
Parents will complete a brief form to identify their children’s ethnic and racial identify.
When and how will the new information be gathered?
Park City School District will follow the new federal guidelines beginning in the fall of 2010. The form will be distributed to parents beginning in the spring of 2010. The families of newly enrolled students AND of all current students will be asked to complete the form and return it to the school.
You can’t make me do it, can you?
No, we can’t; but providing the information would be beneficial for you or your child. We are REQUIRED to provide an answer on your behalf, if you choose not to provide such information. The federal government believes that in getting aggregate numbers from states and districts, it would be more preferable to have complete data this way, than have missing data.
Since 1997, federal agencies have been working to adopt the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The new standards separate race and ethnicity and include two categories for data on ethnicity. There are five categories for data on race, and respondents are now allowed to choose more than one race.
The new standards are as follows:
- Hispanic or Latino
- Not Hispanic or Latino
- American Indian or Alaska Native
- Black or African American
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
The new standards are part of federal education reports that districts and states submit to receive funds such as those provided through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). They are part of the required ED accountability reports collected through the EDFacts data collection system. Within ED, the Office for Civil Rights collects data at the school and district levels to assist with its enforcement of laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race and national origin, among other personal characteristics.
Outside ED, the new race and ethnicity categories were used by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in data collection, tabulation, and reporting in the 2000 Census.
The evolving racial and ethnic composition of the school population also provides a strong incentive for reporting data that more accurately reflect the student body. Parents want the opportunity to more fully describe their children’s heritage. Districts and states need data to track and assess racial and ethnic disparities and to measure the effectiveness of school programs in reducing performance differences between groups of students. An effective accountability system relies on precise data, and the new categories can benefit operational decisions as well by more specifically acknowledging racial and ethnic heritage.
It is important to change to the new standards now because they:
- allow individuals to more accurately identify themselves;
- are required for federal education eligibility and accountability reports;
- align with other agencies that are using the new standards, removing the need for “dual” reports;
- are consistent with Census data and other national data sets, facilitating state- and local- level policy analyses; and
- reflect population changes.
What do the new standards mean to school districts?
- Race and ethnicity data have always been collected and reported to ED. Federal education funds are allocated through data reported to ED.
- Continued civil rights enforcement is an important reason for maintaining accurate race and ethnicity information about individual students and staff members at the school and district levels.
- Collecting and reporting racial and ethnic data using these standards will better reflect the current racial and ethnic makeup of communities. It not only allows school districts to allocate their human and financial resources more accurately and equitably, but also validates such decisions within their communities.
- The new data collection format will afford individuals of multiracial background an opportunity to select categories that better represent themselves. It allows Hispanic populations to more accurately describe themselves, helping the school communities to better serve and support them.
- Although work is involved in changing to the new standards, the new format, once understood and implemented, is more user-friendly because it acknowledges the racial and ethnic heritage of students and parents.
Part A. Is this student (or are you) Hispanic/Latino? (Choose only one)
- No, not Hispanic/Latino
- Yes, Hispanic/Latino (A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.)
The above part of the question is about ethnicity, not race. No matter what you selected, please continue to answer the following by marking one or more boxes to indicate what you consider your student’s (or your) race to be.
Part B. What is the student’s (or your) race? (Choose one or more)
- A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. (White)
- A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South American including Central America, and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. (American Indian or Alaska Native)
- A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philipine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam. (Asian)
- A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (Black)
- A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, Tonga, or other Pacific Islands. (Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander)