WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, along with U.S. Senators Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Alex Padilla (D- Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) reintroduced the Strength in Diversity Act on the 69th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision. This legislation would promote diversity in schools through a federal grant program to support voluntary, community-driven strategies. U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-Va.-03)  introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“American public schools are more segregated than they have been in generations. Almost seventy years since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, we still have a lot of work to do.  Black and Latino students and those in low-income communities far too often get the short end of the stick and are more likely to attend segregated schools with fewer resources and educational opportunities. But let's also be clear, all students benefit from a diverse classroom, and the Strength in Diversity Act would give local school districts and state education agencies the resources to better integrate schools and give every kid a quality education,” said Murphy.

“A child’s zip code or socioeconomic background should not determine their educational future. Strengthening diversity in our schools will give students an equal opportunity to learn and succeed. Our legislation is an investment in our children – opening countless doors, unlocking their unlimited potential, and addressing the historic inequities plaguing our educational system,” said Blumenthal.

“America is strongest when people from different racial backgrounds, lived experiences, and socio-economic statuses live, work, and learn together,” said Padilla. “Our legislation would help communities grow together and show that there is more that unites than divides us.”

“No child should ever be denied equal resources, protections and opportunities to achieve their American Dream—not in schools, not anywhere,” said Duckworth. “Nearly 7 decades after the Supreme Court unanimously dismantled racial segregation in our school system, I’m proud to help introduce the Strength in Diversity Act to make sure every kid has the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

“Diversity is one of our country’s greatest assets. As we mark the anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education, this legislation will help us nurture young talent, and allow more students to learn from both people who look like them, and from different perspectives. It will help us give children a well-rounded education and strengthen how students learn and grow, both in and out of the classroom,” said Brown.

“It’s difficult to teach students that diversity makes our communities stronger when they are sitting in de facto segregated classrooms. We need to do better,” said Cardin. “Our bill would give school districts tools that can help improve diversity initiatives and better support students and educators. Federal investments made through this bill could bolster programs authorized under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, providing much desired federal partnerships statewide.”

Specifically, the Strength in Diversity Act would establish a grant program to support voluntary local efforts to increase diversity in schools. Grants could fund a range of proposals, including:

  • Studying segregation, evaluating current policies, and developing evidence-based plans to address socioeconomic and racial isolation;
  • Revising school boundaries, expanding equitable access to transportation for students, or improving open enrollment processes;
  • Creating or expanding school programs that can attract students from outside the local area;
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers and improving teacher diversity;
  • Supporting the development and maintenance of best practices.

The Strength in Diversity Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Federation of Teachers, Children’s Defense Fund, Education Law Center, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota, Integrated Schools, Intercultural Development Research Association, Magnet Schools of America, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, National Coalition on School Diversity, National Education Association, New York Appleseed, North Carolina Justice Center, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Public Advocacy for Kids, Sheff Movement Coalition, Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy based at Brandeis University, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, The Bridges Collaborative at The Century Foundation, The Education Trust, Wayne County Community College District