By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This school year, the United States is poised to begin a new era; the overall number of Latino, African-American and Asian students in public K-12 schools is expected to surpass the number of non-Hispanic whites.

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The projection, at 50.3%, is largely driven by the growth of the Latino population, the decline of whites and a steady rise in Asian Americans, with African-American growth mostly flat.

Among the challenges for schools will be more students in poverty, more who will require English-language instruction, and developing a diverse teaching staff, now mostly white, with different life experiences.

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In an article in Education Week, the chronology of these changes is charted, explaining how laws such as the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 were the beginning point of the demographic transformation.

Those following the Census have expected these changes.

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An interesting side-bar article explains how the Springdale District in Arkansas has dealt with these challenges.