In 1997, more than 63% of the students enrolled in public schools were white. By the fall of 2017, the percentage of white students in public schools dropped to 48%, and is expected to decrease to 44% by the fall of 2029.*
Further, these changes in the racial demographics of U.S. students foreshadows the expected shifts in the racial demographics of our nation as whole. The United States Census Bureau projects the white population in our country to decline from 63% in 2012 to an estimated 43% by 2060.
Given the increasingly diverse community in which we live, it’s more important than ever for teachers and administrators to ensure a multicultural approach to classroom and school activities. And when we speak of “culture” we are not limiting ourselves to race, but religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and more.
Benefits of a Multi-Cultural Approach to Education
- Student Engagement—When students see themselves and their culture reflected in classroom lessons and school activities, they are more engaged and inspired.
- Student Confidence—By highlighting their culture and encouraging open-mindedness towards others, students feel more confident in themselves and their interactions with diverse people.
- Increased Empathy—Encouraging students to explore history and current events from different perspectives encourages understanding and empathy.
- Creativity and Critical Thinking—Classroom activities among students of diverse backgrounds can inspire creativity and critical thinking, as well as an appreciation for diverse perspectives.
While a multi-cultural approach to education improves student success, of greater importance is helping students develop the skills and attitudes to understand and appreciate diverse cultures so they may flourish in school, at work, and in community settings.
For the 2020-2021 school year, Greater Cincinnati Foundation awarded Linden Grove School two grants to support classroom activities related to diversity and inclusion. Further, as part of its 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, the school will increase efforts to encourage in students and staff the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and attitudes to understand and appreciate our differences and our common humanity.
*National Center for Education Statistics, Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools, May 2020. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cge.asp