Poverty and a growing population of minority students, including non-English speaking Hispanics, are presenting major challenges to public schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, a state school official said Monday. Sandy Garrett, state superintendent of public instruction, ... said whites now make up only 22 percent of the student population in Oklahoma City. Hispanics are the biggest minority at 40 percent, followed by blacks at 30 percent, American Indians at 5 percent and Asians at 3 percent.
The more cynical among us might suspect that Sandy is trying to make excuses for poor student performance in Oklahoma. But I have confidence that's not the case. For surely Sandy recalls what OCPA pointed out in the November issue of Perspective ("Demography Is Not Destiny"):
Educators sometimes imply that we shouldn’t expect too much from low-income and minority students. Florida proves them wrong. Thanks to abundant school choice and systemic education reform, Hispanic 4th graders in Florida now have higher reading scores than the statewide average of all 4th-grade students in Oklahoma.