Lawmakers introduce the Stronger Together School Diversity Act of 2016, which will create a $120 million fund to promote diversity in K-12 schools.
The bill, (S 3168/HR 5738) sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), builds on President Obama’s FY 2017 Stronger Together budget proposal. It would support a voluntary program to support the development and expansion of new and existing community-driven strategies to increase diversity in America’s schools.
“Diverse schools help students. That’s the bottom line,” said Murphy. “We’re introducing this bill because districts need the resources to enact voluntary measures that will make schools more diverse and reduce the economic and racial isolation that sadly exists in places like Hartford and Bridgeport.”
The Stronger Together School Diversity Act would:
- Authorize $120 million to provide planning and implementation grants to support voluntary local efforts to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity in schools.
- Supports school districts, independently or in collaboration with neighboring districts, as well as regional educational authorities and educational service agencies.
- Grants could fund a range of proposals, including:
- 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 bussing service;
- 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.
An April 2016 Government Accountability Office report found that the number of socioeconomic and racially segregated schools is increasing, negatively impacting students nationwide. The data shows that poor, segregated schools receive fewer resources, offer students fewer educational opportunities and take more disciplinary actions. Expanding socioeconomic and racial diversity in schools will reverse these troubling trends and help future generations of students receive the education they deserve. In fact, students from low-income households who attend diverse schools are nearly 70% more likely to attend college than students from low-income households who attend high-poverty schools, the report said.
Info: https://goo.gl/7ehjjV (bill).