With Illinois public schools on the cusp of becoming “majority minority,” suburban districts that were once overwhelmingly white are adjusting to their rising Latino enrollment with changes in curriculum and culture.
The newly released 2013 Illinois School Report Card shows total minority enrollment at 49.4 percent, less than a percentage point from a majority, with Latinos leading the increase. In the last 15 years, the state’s Hispanic share of public school students has increased by 10 percentage points, to 24.1 percent, a gain attributed to high birth rates and immigration.
At Beach Park School District 3 in Lake County, administrators have been hiring more bilingual educators as the Hispanic share of enrollment has nearly doubled since 2004, to 38.2 percent. White enrollment has been cut nearly in half, to 28.9 percent.
The five-school district now sends report cards and newsletters home in Spanish and English.