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Latino Enrollment Increases in Oregon Schools

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Latino children now make up one out of every four first-graders in the state of Oregon, reports The Oregonian.

According to the state, about 22 percent of all Oregon students are Hispanic. Latinos are the fastest growing subgroup in the state. About 125,000 Oregon students are Hispanic and 364,000 are white.

The newspaper reports that eight school districts in Oregon are now majority-Latino in enrollment.

Like many other states, Oregon has struggled to recruit teachers that reflect the growing Hispanic population. The Statesman Journal reported that about 91 percent of licensed Oregon teachers are white.

The gap between student and teacher demographics is particularly apparent in the Salem-Keizer school system, where 39 percent of students are Latino and just 5.7 percent of teachers are Latino.

Assistant Superintendent Ken Parshall acknowledged that it would be desirable to better reflect the student population.

“As our student population grows, we all know it helps to have role models in front of you that look like you,” he told the newspaper.