In School Year 15, 141,972 students were enrolled in Rhode Island public schools for grades Pre-K (PK) through 12. Over half of all students in Rhode Island (52%) were male, and Figure 1 shows, 61% were white, 24% Latino, 10% black, 4% Asian, and 2% Native American. There were 46,545 students enrolled in urban core public schools (including traditional public schools, charter schools, and state-run schools located in the urban core), representing a third of all public school students in the state. Males comprised 51% of all students in the urban core; among urban core males, Latinos were the largest subgroup, accounting for 54% of all male students; white and black accounted for 20%, Asian 5%, and Native American 2%. Male students of color in Rhode Island are concentrated in the urban core, with two-thirds attending school in the urban core. These include 73% of Rhode Island Latino males, 66% of all black males, and 36% of all Asian males. By comparison, only 11% of white male students in the state attend school in the urban core.
The Rhode Island Pre K-12 public education system has experienced dramatic demographic shifts in recent years. As demonstrated in Figure 2 above, statewide Pre K-12 male enrollment has dropped 8% over the past ten years. During this time, the number of white males enrolled in Rhode Island public schools decreased by 21%, while enrollment of males of color increased by 24%, driven by a 28% increase in the number of Latino males and a 7% increase in the number of black males. As a result of these changes, the ethnoracial composition of male students in the public schools has changed. Over the past ten years, the proportion of white males decreased by 10 points, while the percentage of Latino males increased by 7 points, and the percentage of black, Asian, and Native American males each increased by a percentage point.
The majority of growth in number of Latino males is occurring in the urban core, while the number of Latino males outside the urban core more than doubled since 2006, from 2,272 to 4,655 students. The demographic shift in Rhode Island public schools is most pronounced in grades Pre K-5, where number of male students decreased by one percent over the past ten years, while the number of white male students decreased by 16 percent. This has been oset by increased numbers of Asian males (44%), Latino males (34%), and black males (18%) in grades Pre K-5. This state-wide increase suggests that these trends in demographic shifts will continue in upcoming years.