Why this is important
The picture of diversity in schools today is a predictor for what our adult population 10–15 years from now will look like. In addition to preparing for immediate concerns such as assisting students who speak a language other than English as their primary language, understanding the diversity in our schools helps us recognize and value cultural traditions and practices that that are different from those of the white population.
What the data show
During the 2014-2015 school year, 73,119 students were enrolled in Dakota County K-12 schools. Of those, 22,143 (or 30%) students were racial or ethnic minorities. Growth in diversity in schools represents a long-term trend, with the percentage of non-white students more than doubling over the past 10 years, from 14.7% in 2004-2005 to 30.3% in 2014-2015. Statewide, non-white students in K-12 schools comprise 29% of students, and in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area, non-white students comprise 40% of students, in the 2014-2015 school year.
In addition to demographic diversity, 10,828 students (14.8%) in Dakota County schools spoke one of 124 different languages other than English as their primary language at home during the 2014-2015 school year. The most commonly spoken language was Spanish, with more than 4,600 students speaking it, followed by Somali (1,727), Vietnamese (651), Russian (334) and Chinese-Mandarin (326).
This chart displays another way of viewing changes in student diversity in Dakota County K-12 public schools.
This chart shows a snapshot of student diversity in Dakota County school districts in the 2014-2015 school year. Burnsville (51%) and West St. Paul (45%) are the school districts with the highest percent of non-white students, while Randolph (4%) school district has less than five percent of non-white students.