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Minority mix in schools edges upwards

In a shift, Armenian students now are counted as members of the Caucasian group.

January 21, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

The percentage of minority students enrolled in Glendale Unified during 2009-10 increased to 43%, up from 41% the previous year, according to a recently released racial and ethnic survey.

"Demographics are changing, our minority population is up a couple of percentage points," Assistant Glendale Unified Supt. John Garcia said.

A report coming in March is considered by the district to be more important, though, since it will show which languages students are speaking at home — an important factor in determining programs for those learning English as a second language.

"It is interesting that the one we really concerned about are the number of children who need to learn the English language," school board member Mary Boger said. "That is certainly not reflected here. This idea that we are still parceling people out by race is just something we need to get on with."

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Caucasians continue to make up the largest racial group in the district at 56%, or 14,918 students. They are followed by Latinos at 22%, Asians at 19% and African Americans at 1%, according to the report.

For the first time, the survey did not include a subcategory for Armenian students, Garcia said. He said Armenian students were instead folded into the Caucasian demographic.

"In prior years we had reported Middle Eastern as a subset of Caucasian," Garcia said. "However, Middle Eastern is not defined as a racial or ethnic category in [the state survey], so this subgroup is no longer delineated. That shifted us a little bit, because the percentage of minority students in this report does not reflect the number of Armenian students in the district."

The most recent survey data was collected from parents at the time of enrollment as part of a state-mandated report on student achievement.

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