Surpassing the 5 million mark, student enrollment in Texas public schools has hit a new record, according to the Texas Education Agency. And Hispanic enrollment continues to mark the majority.
“Enrollment increased for all student groups between 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 except for whites, who experienced a numeric and percentage decrease statewide,” according to a TEA news release on a report released Tuesday. Enrollment in public schools has grown by 820,019 students — or more than 19 percent — over the past decade, it added.
Compared with national figures, Texas’ student enrollment growth stands out even more. Enrollment in Texas increased by 21.6 percent between 2000 and 2010, or four times more than the increase of 4.8 percent over the same period nationwide, according to the report.
Hispanics became the majority of total public school students in Texas for the first time in the 2010-11 school year.
Hispanic enrollment nationwide climbed from 16.3 percent to 23.1 percent nationwide.
During the same period, white student enrollment decreased from 42 percent to 31.2 percent in Texas, and from 61.2 percent to 52.4 percent nationwide, the report said.
An analysis from Steve Murdock, director of Rice University’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, projects that by 2050, the number of Texas public school students is expected to swell to 9 million, and nearly two-thirds of those students would be Hispanic. The overall percentage of Anglo students would drop by half to about 15 percent.
The TEA report also found that number of students identified as economically disadvantaged students decreased among Asians, Hispanics and whites between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school year, but the percentage of African-American students identified as economically disadvantaged increased.
Overall, the number of economically disadvantaged students increased statewide. During the 2012-13 school year, the number of students identified as economically disadvantaged had risen to 3,058,894, or 60.3 percent of all students, up from 51.8 percent in the 2002-03 school year.
“The [number of] students identified as economically disadvantaged was more than double the 19.3-percent increase in the public school population as a whole,” the report stated.
How Texas public schools will navigate this shift in demographics — and whether the Legislature has provided enough resources for them to do so successfully — is a focus of an ongoing lawsuit over the state’s school finance system.