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Minority students expected to become majority this fall

By Alexis Fernandez 8:06 PM August 26, 2014

For the first time in the country’s history, minority students are expected to become the majority in public schools this fall, according to the the National Center for Education Statistics.

It’s a shift not only happening in the Lower 48, but also right here in Anchorage.

To get a sense of the transformation happening across U.S. public schools, you don’t have to look far — just walk the halls of East Anchorage High School.

“To see the evolutionary process, it really is amazing to see how we can merge together,” said East High Principal Sam Spinella.

Spinella has been witnessing this shift for more than a decade.

“I wish I knew what it was that just made it happen; I don’t know that we can really put our finger on it,” he said.

With 2,200 students, East High is considered one of the most diverse schools in the country. Minorities make up 78 percent of its student population — the Asian community being the largest. The white population makes up the remaining 22 percent. Across the district, minorities make up 56 percent.

“There’s uniqueness within that, and to recognize uniqueness of each of us is a valuable aspect in developing a community,” Spinella said.

Spinella says all the diversity is good thing.

“It provides our kids with the learning process where they learn to get along with each other, they learn that different is OK, that diversity is OK, and they’re acceptable,” he said.

After all, he says, we are the great American melting pot.

The remaining diverse schools can be found in Hawaii, California and Washington state.

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