PRESS RELEASE
EMBARGOED UNTIL TUES, 9/15, AFTER VOTE
CONTACT:
Michael Mouton
Communications & Partnerships Manager - NCSD
mmouton@prrac.org
281-796-0570
NCSD-ENDORSED STRENGTH IN DIVERSITY ACT PASSES IN HISTORIC U.S. HOUSE VOTE
Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2639, the Strength in Diversity Act with over 100 co-sponsors. The Strength in Diversity Act was introduced by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11) in the House and by Senator Chris Murphy (CT) in the Senate as S.1418
 
The proposed legislation, endorsed by NCSD, would provide support and funding for voluntary, locally-driven efforts to further racial and socioeconomic integration in schools. After decades of a status quo that has led to worsening segregation in our schools and curbed the potential of community-driven efforts to further school integration, the U.S. House has taken a historic step in pursuit of educational equity and diversity.
 
Specifically, the Strength in Diversity Act would authorize much-needed resources to “[p]rovide planning and implementation grants to support voluntary local efforts to increase racial 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.

As noted in a 2018 NCSD research brief, Re-Weaving the Social Fabric Through Integrated Schools: How Intergroup Contact Prepares Youth to Thrive in a Multiracial Society: “Socioeconomically and racially integrated schools help students to discover their commonalities, and to acknowledge meaningful differences in perspective and experience, which can enhance mutual understanding and foster inclusion and participation in a multicultural democracy.”
 
NCSD Steering Committee Members’ Reactions:

David Glaser, Chief Executive Officer of the Volunteer Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC): “Since the inception of the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) in St. Louis over 40 years ago, VICC has demonstrated that school integration benefits all children and our entire society. Our voluntary integration program has allowed over 70,000 children to be educated in a diverse environment, improved graduation rates in our community, and has had an intergenerational impact - some students that are currently enrolled are second-generation or third-generation VICC participants. Opportunities for more funding and support and for voluntary integration programs like VICC will allow us to serve more families, and give more communities and jurisdictions another way to seek educational equity and diversity.”

Matt Gonzales, Director, Integration and Innovation Initiative (i3) at NYU Metro Center:  "The destructive path of COVID-19 mirrors the destruction left by generations of segregated communities and schools. Now more than ever, we need decisive action from the federal government to desegregate schools. As we have seen in New York City and across the State, resources to support community planning for integration is crucial to creating meaningfully integrated schools. We applaud Congress members Fudge and Scott for continuing to lead the charge at the federal level to support integration. The time to act is now."

Brenda Shum, Deputy Director & Counsel, National Center for Youth Law: "The Strength in Diversity Act is a historic step forward that will make it known that in the 21st century our country still believes in racially and socioeconomically integrated education. Now, more than ever, we can see the results of the systemic racism that undermines equity and opportunity for all of our students. We need immediate action to allow our school districts to address the underlying causes of segregation by funding and facilitating innovative and evidence-based strategies."

Contact Us
 National Coalition on School Diversity
c/o Poverty and Race Research Action Council
Website: school-diversity.org
Email: school-diversity@prrac.org
Mailing Address: 740 15th St. NW #300 Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-544-5066