CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN SAN ANTONIO SCHOOLS


Introduction

Background

As stated previously, education in the United States has become an increasingly critical and intensely scrutinized topic in recent years as international academic assessments have revealed advanced performance achievement by students in China, India, and Singapore, which has been found to substantially outstrips the performance of American students. This serves as the primary rationale behind this increased scrutiny on academic performance in the United States as academic professionals seek to pursue educational policy that is forward thinking. In particular, academic professionals in the United States know that in coming years, there will be a tremendous need for skilled labor in an array of technical fields. As such, if a shortage of American students achieving satisfactory academic performance emerges, the American workforce will be left severely understaff, which would ultimately impact U. S. economic performance in a profoundly negative way. To remedy this issue, many academic researchers have begun to turn their attention toward examining various factors that can influence learning, literacy, and knowledge retention of a highly diverse student population. This research has generated compelling information that has provided researchers with greater insights into links between English language literacy among English language learners and demographic factors such as race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The specific assertions and findings of these studies is demonstrated in the following paragraphs.

Race/Ethnicity Factor

A number of research studies have already been conducted to explore one or more of the concepts related to this study, which will be extremely valuable in helping to shape the research that will be conducted in this study. Ultimately, researchers have found that gaining a deeper understanding of the influences that seem to most impact student learning would help the United States to meet its future needs with regard to skilled labor so that the country can remain competitive against strong economic rivals, such as China. As the second largest racial/ethnic group in the United States, Latinos would serve as a highly relevant place to focus this study’s research, primarily due to their racial prominence that currently exists within Bexar County, Texas. In addition, the propensity of Hispanic students to face limited English Language proficiency is a concept that may be particularly relevant within Bexar County due to its larger Latino population.

According to the most recent U. S. Census data indicates that as of July 2012, the Latino population in the United States topped 53 million. Further, Latinos represent the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States as the Latino population has been projected to increase to nearly 130 million by 2060. In Texas, the Latino population is the largest one within the U. S. as 31% of the 26 million people living in Texas are of Hispanic ethnicity, and is expected to double over the next 50 years. Based on this, there is certainly merit in examining the factors and influences that impact learning and literacy among Latino students in Bexar County as they represent a major proportion of the student population currently matriculating to one of the county’s 44 high schools.