More than 66 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, our public schools are more segregated today than they were in the 1960s. Yesterday, the House of Representatives took a promising step to address this by passing the Strength in Diversity Act (HR 2639) with bipartisan support.
Segregated schools prevent our nation’s children from accessing the high-quality, equitable education they deserve. Students that attend racially and socioeconomically segregated schools tend to receive less funding, have fewer resources, experience more disciplinary actions, and be harmed by discriminatory policies more often. And these disparities create unfair barriers for students’ academic success. When students attend more diverse schools and gain access to equitable funding and resources, on the other hand, they are more likely to do well academically, are more likely to benefit from more integrated environments and higher levels of social cohesion into adulthood, and are less likely to hold racial prejudice in adulthood.
The Strength in Diversity Act would fund local efforts to increase diversity in schools in order to address racial and socioeconomic isolation and improve academic outcomes. These funds could be used for a range of efforts including:
- Studying school segregation and evaluating schools’ current policies;
- Developing evidence-based plans for improving diversity in schools;
- Implementing family and community engagement plans;
- Recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers; and/or
- Investing in specialized programs or plans to encourage inter-district attendance.
The Children’s Defense Fund joined leading civil rights and education organizations in endorsing the Strength in Diversity Act as a step towards fulfilling the promise of equitable education, and we applaud the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation. It’s time we foster a public education system where all children are given the support and resources they need to thrive.
Read more about the Strength in Diversity Act here.