The Institute for Educational Leadership has always been ahead of the curve. In 1985, Harold Hodgkinson, a renowned demographer who ran IEL’s Center for Demographic Policy, published a seminal report, All One System: Demographics of Education, Kindergarten through Graduate School. The report was significant in laying out trends we see today – a growing number of young people of color in the education system and the opportunity this trend offers for the vitality of the nation.
The report was a demographic study outlining major demographic shifts in our population, focusing in particular, on the changes from early childhood education through college and career systems. Hodgkinson predicted a rapid and continuous increase of minorities among young people and the opportunity this trend presents for deeper connection across the education systems. As he concluded, “The task will be not to lower the standards but to increase the effort. To do so will be to the direct benefit of all Americans, as a new generation of people become a part of our fabric, adding the high level of energy and creativity that has always been characteristic of groups who are making their way in America.” (p. 22).
The subsequent report, published in 1999, All One System: A Second Look. Perspectives in Public Policy: Connecting Higher Education and the Public Schools, called attention to the need to strengthen the collaboration and alignment between K-12 and higher education systems to better support young people.
As we think about both the national and regional demographic shifts, Hodgkinson’s work reminds us about the role each of us plays in supporting young people and their success. What demographic changes are you seeing in your community? What are you doing to support all children, youth, and families?