Race and Ethnicity
The U.S. Department of Education requires all states to collect information on the race and ethnicity of public school students. The federal government developed a new way to report ethnicity and race that includes new categories. The changes should provide a more accurate picture of the nation's ethnic and racial diversity. In the spring of 2010, parents of all students will be asked to fill out a brief form to update the reporting of their student's ethnicity and race.
If I have already provided this information to the school system, why must I provide it again?
In the past, forms for reporting race and ethnicity to the federal government allowed individuals to be identified in only one racial category. The new form enables individuals to be identified in ethnic and racial classifications and in more than one racial category. The federal government is requiring that ethnic and racial information for all students and staff be reported in this new way in order to reflect the nation's diversity more accurately.
How will the information be used?
The data with the new ethnicity/race categories will be used in the same manner that racial/ethnic data are currently used. The new categories will replace the existing categories for use in all state and federally sponsored statistical data collections that include data on ethnicity or race. Some examples include student record cards and test results.
Is the federal government checking my immigration status?
No. This information will be maintained in student records only. It will NOT BE reported to any federal agency in a way that identifies your child. No one will check for immigration status from the information you give here.
Will the school release my student's race and ethnicity to other parties?
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 non-directory information in a student's education record.
I am Hispanic. Why do I have to answer more questions?
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.
How do I know I won't be discriminated against after I've told you I belong to a minority group?
This is exactly why we need to maintain better racial and ethnic data bout our students. We are required to maintain this information about each individual in his or her record, in case a civil right investigation surfaces. Again, state and local guidelines are in place to ensure that racial and ethnic data will not be reported elsewhere in a way that you may be identified.
Who provides the information?
Parents will complete a brief form to identify their children's ethnic and racial identify.
When and how will the new information be gathered?
Park City School District will follow the new federal guidelines beginning in the fall of 2010. The form will be distributed to parents beginning in the spring of 2010. The families of newly enrolled students AND of all current students will be asked to complete the form and return it to the school.
You can't make me do it, can you?
No, we can't; but providing the information would be beneficial for you or your child. We are REQUIRED to provide an answer on your behalf, if you choose not to provide such information. The federal government believes that in getting aggregate numbers from states and districts, it would be more preferable to have complete data this way, than have missing data.