Advocacy Effort: Tell Congress #itstime to #strike301and302

The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) urges Congress to not include any provisions in the FY 2019 appropriations bills that prohibit federal funding from being used for transportation to further racial integration in public schools. Such provisions have been included in appropriations legislation since at least 1974.

Sections 301 and 302 are from a bygone era. We must no longer passively accept the status quo of their presence in appropriations bills. It’s time for a shift that puts the federal government firmly on the side of local communities that desire to use their federal funds to bolster school integration efforts. 

The anti-integration provisions unnecessarily limit states and local communities from utilizing the full range of school improvement techniques and other opportunities available to them under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), stripping them of the very flexibility the law was designed to extend. By barring the use of federal funds to transport students for the purposes of racial integration, these anti-integration provisions undercut educators’ ability to explore innovative and potentially significant reforms.

Specifically, the provisions say:

Section 301: “No funds appropriated in this Act may be used for the transportation of students or teachers (or for the purchase of equipment for such transportation) in order to overcome racial imbalance in any school or school system, or for the transportation of students or teachers (or for the purchase of equipment for such transportation) in order to carry out a plan of racial desegregation of any school or school system.”

Section 302: “None of the funds contained in this Act shall be used to require, directly or indirectly, the transportation of any student to a school other than the school which is nearest the student’s home, except for a student requiring special education, to the school offering such special education, in order to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For the purpose of this section an indirect requirement of transportation of students includes the transportation of students to carry out a plan involving the reorganization of the grade structure of schools, the pairing of schools, or the clustering of schools, or any combination of grade restructuring, pairing, or clustering. The prohibition described in this section does not include the establishment of magnet schools.”

Section 426 of General Education Provisions Act (GEPA): “No funds appropriated for the purpose of carrying out any applicable program may be used for the transportation of students or teachers (or for the purchase of equipment for such transportation) in order to overcome racial imbalance in any school or school system, or for the transportation of students or teachers (or for the purchase of equipment for such transportation) in order to carry out a plan of racial desegregation of any school or school system…”

Despite the outdated thinking this language represents, the research on the benefits of diversity are clear. Students attending racially and socioeconomically diverse schools have better test scores and higher college attendance rates than peers attending racially segregated schools with high concentrations of poverty. The benefits from attending diverse schools also continue into adulthood, such as through reduced segregation in neighborhoods, colleges, and workplaces, higher levels of social cohesion, and reduced racial prejudice. Social science also demonstrates the democratic value of meaningful, sustained cross-racial contact among youth.

 

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:

 

UPDATES:

  • May 31, 2018: Dozens of organizations and individuals signed on to two letters submitted to Congress by NCSD, requesting that lawmakers commit to removing anti-integration provisions in their FY 2019 appropriations bills. Signers collectively represent millions of educators, advocates, and other education leaders. See letters to House and Senate leaders. Read related press release here.

 

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