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Race & Ethnicity Information

The Survey

In order to provide a more accurate picture of the nation's ethnic and racial diversity, the U. S. Department of Education (under federal guidelines) has developed a new way to report student/staff ethnicity and race .  This change will also enable individuals to be identified in more than one category.

Please be aware that no individual student or staff data is reported to the federal government and the new ethnicity and race categories will be used in the same manner as is currently used.  For example, the federal government uses summary racial and ethnic data in collecting and analyzing our state's assessment results (LEAP and iLEAP).

Beginning at the start of the 2010-11 school year, students/parents will be asked to re-identify race and ethnicity under the new guidelines.  Collection of this information will either occur via the standard registration form or with a separate survey document.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Why do you need this information?

A:  The demographics of our society have changed significatnly in the last few decades.  These changes will allow our students to more accurately describe who they are.  We are required by the Federal government to use the new categories.  All states and school districts are required to do the same.  There are good reasons in addition to meeting federal requirements, though.  We routinely report aggregate information to the federal government for funding and evaluation purposes, as well as civil rights compliance.  We also use racial and ethnic data to evaluate our placement and program needs, providing the best services for all students.  The U.S. Census in 2000 and 2010 used the new categories and this is a trend that education and human service agencies are following.

Q:  Will the school release my student's race and ethnicity to other parties?

A:  Individual student records are protected by the Federal Education Records and Privacy Act (FERPA).  The new race and ethnicity standards have no effect on FERPA's protection of student records.  FERPA does not designate race and ethnicity as directory information, and race and ethnicity have the same protection as any other nondirectory information in a student's education record.

Q:  Haven't we given this information before?  Why do you need to ask again?

A:  This is indeed a major effort, but it would be more beneficial to ask everyone again and at the same time with the new format.  This way no one will mss the opportunity to identify himself or herself in a more accurate way.

Q:  I am Hispanic.  Why do I have to answer more questions?

A:  One of the major changes is the recognition that members of Hispanic populations can be of different races.  The federal government would like to afford Hispanic/Latino populations the opportunity to better describe themselves according to their culture and heritage.  So yes, you will be asked to select one or more races, even if you have indicated that you are Hispanic/Latino.

Q:  You can't make me do it, can you?

A:  No, we can't; but providing the information would be beneficial for your child.  We are required to provide an answer on your behalf if you choose not to provide such information. 

Definitions of Race and Ethnic Categories


Hispanic/Latino - A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

Race Categories:

American Indian or Alaska Native - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American  - A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Clarifying Hispanic Ethnicity

 The following is a list of Hispanic ancestry groups to which Hispanic individuals may refer themselves:

Balearic Islander
Mexican American
Mexican State

Latin American
Spanish American

Costa Rican

Central American
Puerto Rican
American Indian
South American
Canary Islander
La Raza
Canal Zone
Nuevo Mexicano


Selecting Race(s)

In general, the new federal requirements meld race and geographic/national origin.  For example, “White” is defined to include people who originate from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.  Though not an exhaustive list, the following chart may help in connecting geographic/national origin with a race:

If an individual considers him- or herself to be: …or comes from one of the following countries or regions …and assuming single-race, the individual may be identified as:
European American Northern Europe such as: Britain (Scotland, Ireland, Wales) Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden
Western Europe such as: Belgium, France, Holland, Luxembourg
Central Europe such as: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland
Eastern Europe such as: Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine
Southern Europe such as: Bosnia, Catalonia, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain
Other such as: Caucasus, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan
Middle Eastern American Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria. Turkey, Yemen White
North African American Algeria, Egypt, Morocco White
Black, African American, Afro-American Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Ethiopia, Haiti, Jamaica, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Nigriti, South Africa, Sudan, Tobago, Trinidad, West Indies, Zaire Black
Asian American Asian Indian, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Okinawa, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lankan, Thailand, Vietnam; or ancestry groups such as Hmongs, Mongolians, Iwo Jiman, Maldivian Asian
Pacific Islander Caroline Islands, Fiji, Guam, Hawaiian Islands, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Polynesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tarawa Islands, Tonga Pacific Islander
Australian or New Zealander – not an indigenous person Australia, New Zealand White
Aborigine, Indigenous Australian, Torres Straits Islander, Melanesian Australia, New Zealand, Torres Straits Islands Pacific Islander