WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and U.S. Representative Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), a member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, along with U.S. Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Gregorio Sablan (D-MP) and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Bernard Sanders (D-Vt.) this week introduced the Strength in Diversity Act of 2019, legislation to promote diversity in schools. Specifically, the legislation creates a federal grant program to support voluntary, community-driven strategies to increase diversity in schools.
“The federal government needs to be doing more to support local efforts to make education a more diverse and inclusive experience,” said Murphy. “Far too often, for reasons of legacy or policy, students of color or in low-income communities are shut out of the opportunity to get a good education. As years of research have shown us, school integration benefits students and communities. Our bill will help in this effort by providing grants to school districts that want to increase diversity in schools.”
“The Strength in Diversity Act will help promote the desegregation of, and elimination of racial and socioeconomic isolation in, all of our nation’s schools,” said Fudge. “The bill enables school districts and communities to invest in inclusive public education by supporting effective solutions enforcing the spirit and letter of the decision in Brown v. Board of Education. I am proud to again sponsor the Strength in Diversity Act in the House to ensure the Department of Education enhances six decades of American progress since Brown and halts the resurgence of segregated schools, programs and classrooms.”
“This bill recognizes that school segregation in the 21st Century is about both racial and economic isolation,” said Philip Tegeler, Member of the National Coalition on School Diversity Steering Committee. “More often than not, segregation happens across school district lines. This is precisely the kind of funding support that innovative local school districts need to address segregation – and it will encourage districts to work together to craft new approaches to address racial and economic isolation.”
Specifically, the Strength in Diversity Act:
• Authorizes federal funding to provide planning and implementation grants to support voluntary local efforts to increase racial diversity and socioeconomic diversity. Grants could fund a range of proposals, including (but not limited to):
- Studying segregation, evaluating current policies, and developing evidence-based plans to address racial and socioeconomic isolation;
- Establishing public school choice zones and revising school boundaries;
- Creating or expanding innovative school programs that can attract students from outside the local area; and
- Recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers to support specialized schools.
• Supports school districts, independently or in collaboration with neighboring districts, as well as regional educational authorities and educational service agencies.
The Strength in Diversity Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Center on Law, Inequality, and Metropolitan Equity at Rutgers Law School, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, IntegrateNYC4me, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Women’s Law Center, New York Appleseed, The Office of Transformation and Innovation at the Dallas Independent School District, National Education Association, National Coalition on School Diversity, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Magnet Schools of America, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation, and Unidos.