New Guidelines Issued for Race and Ethnicity Data

April 30, 2008
Federal Government Issues New Guidelines for Collecting Data on Race and Ethnicity in Public Schools

All students will update their information on ethnicity and race this fall

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new guidelines regarding the collection of data on race and ethnicity for public school students and staff. The federal government, which requires all states to collect this information, has developed new categories that will provide a more accurate picture of the nation’s ethnic and racial diversity.

Four major changes are being made in the way that ethnicity and race data will now be collected:

There is now a two-part question on ethnicity and race.
The term “Hispanic” has been changed to “Hispanic or Latino.”
The racial category “Asian or Pacific Islander” has been separated into two new categories—“Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.”
Individuals will be able to select one or more races from the five racial groups.

Currently, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) asks families to provide information on students' race and ethnicity at the time of enrollment. Beginning in fall 2008, families of newly enrolled students and of all current students will be asked to complete a brief form to update information on their children's ethnicity and race. Staff will be asked to update their information at a later time.

The federal government uses race and ethnicity data for many purposes, such as ensuring equal access in housing, education and employment. The government also requires states to use race and ethnicity data in reporting and analyzing test results, such as the Maryland School Assessment and the High School Assessments.

Parents and MCPS staff will receive periodic updates leading up to the fall. More information is available at the link below.

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