Chicago — When it comes to keeping racial statistics, the nation is in transition from the old “mark one box” to allowing citizens to check as many boxes as their backgrounds demand.
These changes can result in an undercount of African-American students across the country.
Under Department of Education requirements that take effect this year, for instance, any student like Ms. López-Mullins who acknowledges even partial Hispanic ethnicity will, regardless of race, be reported to federal officials only as Hispanic. And students of non-Hispanic mixed parentage who choose more than one race will be placed in a “two or more races” category, a catchall that detractors describe as inadequately detailed. A child of black and American Indian parents, for example, would be in the same category as, say, a child of white and Asian parents.