Millennials on Target to Be Most Educated Group in History Due to Multicultural Youth: Report
Millennials are on target to be the most educated group in U.S. history, chiefly due to educational advancements among diverse populations and U.S. women. Also, multicultural students are swarming early age classrooms, despite failures to properly integrate students of different races and ethnicities.
The 53.5 million K-12 students returning to the classroom in just a few weeks are more racially diverse than ever, according to a new Pew report that focuses on five facts about America's students. Within the walls of the 129,200 schools, including the 30,900 private schools and 5,700 charter schools, the multicultural students will outnumber white peers, largely because of Hispanic and Asian children born since 2000. In many states, at least 1-in-5 public school kindergartners are Latino.
The ethnic changes among U.S. school-age children demonstrates a more pronounced shift toward a "majority-minority youth population." Older Americans are far less likely to be racial or ethnically diverse, compared to younger adults. The Census Bureau released data in 2013 that showed half of Americans younger than 5 were non-white, compared to only 17 percent of individuals ages 85 or older.
Even as schools have become more diverse, white students continue to attend schools that are largely white. In 2012, only 17.1 percent of white students attended schools where half of the school's population was multicultural. However, more than three-quarters of Hispanics and blacks attended schools that had diverse populations, as they're more likely to attend schools with students of the same race or ethnicity. During the 2011-12 school year, Latino students, on average, attended a school that was 56.8 percent Latino. Likewise, African-Americans attended school with 48.8 percent African American population, and white students attended schools with 72.5 percent white attendance.
The quality of the nation's K-12 STEM instruction, whether in white or multicultural settings, needs improvement. When asked, just 29 percent of Americans said U.S. STEM education was above average or best in the world. Also, 29 percent said it was below average. Additionally, Americans said they were certain math and science skills are less critical to success than communication and reading skills. Ninety percent said communication was a vital skill, while 79 percent named math and just 58 percent indicated science was important.
An additional fact about today's students is the school dropout rate has reached a record low. In 2000, 12 percent of high school students dropped out, and just 7 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds dropped out in 2013. That decline can be attributed to a decrease in dropout rates among Hispanics and African-American students. The percentage of dropouts among Hispanics and African-Americans has fallen by half between 2000 and 2013 (from 32 percent to 14 percent and 15 percent to 8 percent, respectively). Historically, Hispanic youth are finishing high school at a greatly improved rate, but they still stumble behind whites when it comes to obtaining Bachelor's degrees.
According to the Pew report, millennials are on course to be the most educated generation in history, which is greatly due to an increase in higher education among diverse groups, as well as gains among women. Millennial women are nearly four times as likely as women in "the silent generation" (the mid 1920s to the early 1940s) to have at least a bachelor's degree.
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