The Illinois State Board of Education has released numbers showing that, for the first time, non-white minority students make up the majority of the state’s public school students.
The new numbers show whites make up 49.76 percent of the school population statewide. Blacks made up nearly 18 percent of the school population, a decline from previous years. Together, white students represented 1,023,382 students, while other racial groups were 1,033,110.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting the new numbers mean Illinois is one of a dozen states, and the first in the Midwest, to have a minority-majority school population.
The data follow reports last year that there seems to be a growing gap between test score performance in richer and poorer school communities across the state.
In October, the annual School Report Card showed the percentage of third- through eighth-grade students who passed their ISAT reading and math exams fell by about 24 points, while schools with the smallest declines, 12 percentage points or less, had lower percentages of poor and minority students as a group than average.
Earlier in 2013, a study by the Southern Education Center found that 70 percent of students in Illinois who go to school in urban areas live in poverty. As well, the study found 37 percent of suburban and 31 percent of rural students in the start came from low income families.
This year’s numbers show almost 20 percent of districts in Illinois have minority students in the majority in their schools. Most of those districts are in the Chicago area, with some having majority black populations and others having majority Latino populations.