You might not have noticed but when schools closed this past June, it was the end of an era. For the foreseeable future, this is the last time that white students will be in the majority in our nation's public schools. When schools reopen in August and September, black, Latino, Asian and Native American students combined will make up a majority of our country's public school students.
This change is more than just a statistical blip. Demographers believe that the previously thought of minority groups will continue to grow and increase their majority in our public schools. What does this mean for all of us?
First of all, we have already seen that state legislatures that are made up of primarily older white men have shown little interest in funding the public schools. In many states public funds are offered to families in the form of vouchers to place children in private schools. We are a democracy. One of the reasons our governments fund public education is because an educated electorate is crucial to the operation of a democracy. So whether we have children in public schools or not, whether we are people of color or not, public schools play a key role in the continuation of our democracy.
Secondly, public schools are also a key element in our workforce. People of color will soon be a majority in our workforce and by 2042, it is predicted that they will represent a majority of our population. Each and every one of us, regardless of race or ethnicity, has a significant stake in that. State legislatures that fund public schools with the notion "that's not my kid in there" are totally missing the point. That kind of ethnocentric short sightedness will take every one of us down a path we do not want to go on. Even countries like Germany with a history of being unwelcoming to immigrants are seeing the light of their economic future. They are encouraging the immigration of talented workers to meet their economic engine needs. We need people to grow our economy. If those people do not come from births at home they need to come from somewhere. And we need to treasure and train the people who are here, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.