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Home > New Federal Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Race and Ethnicity

New Federal Guidelines for
Collecting and Reporting Race and Ethnicity

The federal government is requiring that ethnic and racial information for all students and staff be reported in a new way in order to more accurately reflect the nation's diversity. 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 allows individuals to self-identify their ethnicity and race and to select more than one race and/or ethnicity. This change allows individuals to more accurately reflect their racial and ethnic background by not limiting them to only one racial or ethnic category. The new system eliminates double reporting of students identifying with multiple races.

Educational agencies, including public school systems, are required to report racial and ethnic data to the Department using the new categories starting with the 2010-2011 school year.

HCPSS Implementation Process

  • The Howard County Public School System will begin collecting data in compliance with the new federal guidelines in January 2009.
  • Because the race and ethnic codes have changed significantly, information on all students must be collected, even if it has been provided in the past.
  • Parents will complete a brief form to identify their children's ethnic and racial identity, which will be distributed to all families of newly enrolled students AND all current students.
  • The Maryland State Department of Education is requiring that race codes be recorded as they have been in the past AND in the new format for the 2009-2010 school year in order to allow for cross checking and validation of the new collection method.
  • For the 2010-2011 school year, ONLY the new collection method will be used.

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