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Illegal Immigrant Students Increase in Texas Schools

November 30, 2014
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The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released a new 50-page report, Enrollment in Texas Public Schools 2013-2014, right before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It identified the demographic spikes of illegal immigrant children in the state’s public schools. It also showed huge disparities in preK-12 and minority populations were clearly evidenced in black and white. Literally.

The report looked at 2013-14 statewide enrollment increases from the previous year by 1.5% to an enrollment where Hispanics topped the student body at 51.8% followed by Whites at 29.5%, Blacks at 12.7%, Asian, 3.7%; and multiracial, 1.9%.

However, enrollment percentages for Hispanic, Asian and multiracial increased from the 2012-13 to 2013-14 school year while the report reflected Black student population as spotty. White student population dropped sharply.

From 2012-13 to 2013-14, white students enrollments decreased in 18 of the 20 Education Service Center (ESC) regions, plummeting from 40.9% to 30.6%. Nationally, during this period, whites also dropped from 60.3% to 51.7%, according to the TEA.

The report did not identify why this student population has diminished.

Black student enrollment ranged from 0.2%of enrollment in Region 1 (Edinburg) to 27.2% in Region 5 (Beaumont). It sunk from a 17.2% student population to the aforementioned 12.7% in 2013-14.

During the same calendar year, Black student population dropped across the country from 17.2% to 15.7%, according to the report.

National figures also mirrored Texas declines in black and white students in “four most populous states, as well as in the United States as a whole, between 2001-11” based on National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) statistics in the TEA report.

Data in this report was broken down over multiple categories.

Other highlights included percentages of students receiving bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) instructional services. What was 14% in 2003-2004 became 17.1% in 2013-2014.

According to the TEA, the proportion of public school enrollment accounted for by Hispanic students increased from 41.7% to 51.8%. It also jumped nationally — from 17.1% to 23.7%.

Hispanic students accounted for more than 65% of enrollment in five ESC areas – Region 1 (Edinburg), Region 2 (Corpus Christi), Region 18 (Midland), Region 19 (El Paso) and Region 20 (San Antonio).

Across the ESCs, Region 4 – Houston, served the largest proportion of the state’s total enrollment (22.3%) from 1,123,557 in 2012-13 to 1,147,038 in 2013-2014.

Statewide, enrollment from 2012-13 to 2013-14 revealed student population fluctuations in Region 1 (Edinburg) from 417,490 to 422,409; Region 6 (Huntsville) from 177,412 to 181,083; Region 10 (Richardson) from 776,920 to 796,020; Region 11 (Fort Worth) from 562,831 to 568,506; Region 13 (Austin) from 380,872 to 388,461; Region 14 (Abilene) from 55,738 to 58,075; Region 18 (Midland) from 83,305 to 85,515; and Region 20 (San Antonio) from 429,036 to 434,878.

The data did not identify if any of the population changes were because of migration from other US states.

Texas students identified as economically disadvantaged in the 2003-04 school year equaled 2,281,195, accounting for 52.7% of pupils. By 2013-13, this totaled 3,096,050, or 60.1% of all students, according to the report.

Also, an unexplained spike of 64.4% of economically disadvantaged Grade 1 students prevailed compared to 47.3% in Grade 12 students.

Under TEA guidelines, students identified as economically disadvantaged are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program.

Fed Led food serviced 44.9% of Texas in the 2000-01 school year, which rose to 51.1% in 2011-12. According to the TEA, that was 1.5% points higher than the national average of 49.6% during that same school year.

By 2013-14, 60.1% of students were identified as economically disadvantaged in the Texas public school system. This was comprised of 67% of students identified as immigrants, 74.6% of students participating in Title I programs, 86.9% of students participating in bilingual/ESL programs, 87.6% identified as English language learners, and 97.7% students identified as migrants, according to the TEA statistics.

“Title I is the largest federal aid program for elementary and secondary schools. The goal of Title I is to improve teaching and learning for at-risk students attending schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students,” the report stated. Nearly two-thirds of students were enrolled in Title I programs in school year 2013-14, according to the TEA.

According to national figures TEA used in calculating their snapshot, Texas public school enrollment grew by 20.1% between 2001 and 2011. This was more than five times the increase in the United States, or 3.9% over the same time period.

Pre-kindergarten was another tracked area. These classes are “designed to serve children three years of age and older who have specified educational disadvantages, including limited English proficiency,” according to the report.

Hispanic students comprised 65.5% of the pre-k students in year 2013-14. By contrast, white students made up on 14.5%. The report showed that the economically disadvantaged pre-K population was 90%.

Last summer, Breitbart Texas reported extensively on the unaccompanied alien minors flooding into the United States through the Texas southern border. KPRC-TV, Houston, reported that that Houston ISD schools were providing education to illegal immigrant children. Breitbart Texas also broke the Houston ISD story, 3000 Unaccompanied Minors in Houston Schools and has since explored the damaging financial and academic effects of illegal immigration on the public schools in light of the President’s executive amnesty.

The report stated “Students identified as immigrants are between 3 and 21 years old, have not been attending school in the United States for more than three full academic years, and were not born in any state in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia.”

Curiously, there were a total 740 student in Grades 9-12 between 22 and 25 years of age. Of these, 73.8 percent were in Grade 12. However, there was a demographic of high school students aged 19-21 that accounted for 16,679 students in the report.

TEA also emphasized that “US citizenship is not a factor when identifying students as immigrants for the purpose of public school enrollment data collection. Migrant, however, relates to a student with a parent or guardian in the migratory agricultural or fishing worker who has moved around over the past three years to obtain temporary employment.

Meanwhile the percentage of students served in special education programs decreased from 11.8% in 2003-04 to 8.6 percent in 2013-14; students enrolled in gifted and talented programs also decreased from 7.8% to 7.6%.

Between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of public school students accounted for by Hispanic students increased in every state in the United States and in the District of Columbia. According to NCES data in the TEA report: “In the four most populous states, the percentage-point increases were the largest for any racial/ethnic group.”

The proportion of public school enrollment accounted for by Hispanics rose from 41.7% to 50.8% in Texas and from 17.1% to 23.7% nationwide. Across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, New Mexico had the highest proportion of Hispanic student enrollment (59.5%) in 2011, followed by California (52.1%) and Texas (50.8%).

The information in the report was compiled through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS), the longitudinal database in Texas that was set up to track pre-kindergarten through college graduate school level (P-20) data on students “to better understand students’ preparedness to contribute to the 21st Century workforce.

PEIMS was created through an $18-plus million grant from the US Department of Education, according to NCES.

In 2013-14, a broad range of information was collected through PEIMS on more than 1,200 school districts and open-enrollment charters; more than 8,700 schools; more than 334,000 teachers; and more than 5 million students, according to the TEA.

The data was collected for a variety of purposes, according to the report — for use by financial planners and civic leaders to monitor the long and short term educational needs of a community, for regional and state educational policy planning, administration, and research and mandated stated accountability ratings collected by the TEA.

Federally, enrollment data is also being tracked. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires states to submit data for all students in categories of “economically disadvantaged students; students from major racial and ethnic groups; students with disabilities; and students with limited English proficiency,” the report stated.

ESEA is also known as No Child Left Behind and more recently, has become recognized as the College and Career Readiness Standards.

“Likewise, ESEA requires state report cards to be submitted annually with ‘information, in the aggregate, on student achievement — disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, migrant status, English proficiency, and status as economically disadvantaged,” according to the TEA report, which contains many more of these statistics.

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