WASHINGTON – Today, Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17) led House Democrats in introducing the Strength in Diversity Act, a bold proposal to help fulfill the promise of equity in education by supporting schools districts that are developing, implementing, or expanding voluntary school diversity initiatives.
“Last year the House of Representatives made history by passing the first new investment in school integration in three decades,” Chairman Scott said. “Now – with a Democratic Senate and President Biden in the White House – the Strength in Diversity Act has an opportunity to be enacted into law. Addressing America’s legacy of racial discrimination is often uncomfortable and complicated. This bill provides the necessary funding to help school districts that are voluntarily seeking to develop, implement, or expand efforts to integrate their local schools.”
“This year’s Black History Month is about dismantling systemic racism in every form, and that must start with education,” said Congressman Jones. “Sixty-six years after Brown v. Board of Education, it’s time to make good on our promise to integrate our public schools. Segregated schools do a disservice to students of color, whose schools are under-resourced and over-disciplined, and to our society. By passing the Strength in Diversity Act, we can start to break down the inequities in our education system and truly begin the process of desegregation.”
More than 66 years after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, America’s public schools are more segregated today than at any time during the 1960s. The growing racial isolation in schools has led to a significant gap in resources. Schools serving predominately students of color receive $23 billion less than schools serving predominantly white students.
As a result, Black students who attended desegregated schools throughout their K-12 career were more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, attend a more selective school, and complete college.
School diversity also promotes better life outcomes beyond education. Research shows that attending diverse schools leads to more integrated communities, higher levels of social cohesion, and reduced racial prejudice.
The Strength in Diversity Act:
- Establishes a grant program that provides federal funding to support voluntary local efforts to increase diversity in schools. Grants could fund a range of proposals, including (but not limited to):
- Studying segregation, evaluating current policies, and developing evidence-based plans to address socioeconomic and racial isolation.
- Establishing public school choice zones, revising school boundaries, or expanding equitable access to transportation for students.
- Creating or expanding innovative school programs that can attract students from outside the local area.
- Recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers to support specialized schools.
- Supports the development and maintenance of best practices for grantees and experts in the field of school diversity.
- Grant funding would be available to school districts, independently or in collaboration with neighboring districts, as well as regional educational authorities and educational service agencies.
For a fact sheet on the Strength in Diversity Act, click here.
For a section by section of the Strength in Diversity Act, click here.
For the bill text of the Strength in Diversity Act, click here.
Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853