Latinos are an important part of California’s cultural fabric and are central to the state’s future and economic prosperity. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, we are taking a look at some key demographic and achievement data for Latino students in California’s K-12 public schools.
This information is also available in a printer-friendly fact sheet here.
Latino Students’ Enrollment
Over half of the 6.2 million students who attend California public schools are Latino — 3,360,562 students. This student population has constituted the majority of the state’s public school students since the 2009–10 school year.
The number of Latino students varies greatly between counties and even within districts. For instance, while Alpine County only has six Latino students, San Benito County’s Latino students compose 72 percent of all students served within the county.
Economic, English Learner and Special Education Status
Latino students are the most economically disadvantaged ethnic student group in California — 80 percent of Latino students are economically disadvantaged, compared to 28 percent of white students and 74 percent of African-American students. Many Latino students (57 percent) attend schools where at least 75 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meal programs.
Within special education programs, Latino students are identified at a comparable rate to their white peers — 12 percent of Latino and white students are identified for special education. By comparison, 15 percent of Native-American and 18 percent of African-American students are identified for special education.
According to the 2015–16 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results in math and English language arts, a significant achievement gap persists between Latino students and their white and Asian peers across all tested grades. For example:
- Among sixth-grade students that met or exceeded standards in math, there is a 30-percentage-point gap between Latino students and their white peers, and a 49-percentage-point gap between Latino students and their Asian peers.
- Among sixth-grade students that met or exceeded standards in English language arts, there is a 27-percentage-point gap between Latino students and their white peers, and a 40-percentage-point gap between Latino students and their Asian peers.
High School Graduation Rates
According to 2014–15 four-year cohort graduation data, nearly 79 percent of Latino students graduated from high school, compared to 88 percent of white and 93 percent of Asian students. Despite these gaps, cohort graduation rates have improved for all students since the 2009–10 school year, with the gap closing slightly between Latino students and their white and Asian peers. However, despite the progress in high school graduation rates, only 35 percent of Latino students that graduate from high school do so having completed the courses required for entrance to a University of California or California State University campus — compared to 50 percent of white students and 72 percent of Asian students.
To view a downloadable, printer-friendly version of these facts, check out CSBA’s Latino Students in California’s K-12 Public Schools Fact Sheet.
To access our research and policy briefs, including a series on English learners, visit: http://csba.org/GovernanceAndPolicyResources/GovernanceBriefs.aspx.