Press Release: Education and Civil Rights Groups Urge Congress to Use the Federal Budget to Increase Access to Integrated and Inclusive Schools

Public Schools are Resegregating at Alarming Rates, Leaving Behind the Tremendous Benefits That Come with Diversity

Congress must use the fiscal year 2022 budget to support communities in their efforts to develop and implement strategies that promote racial and socioeconomic integration in their public schools, and direct the Department of Education to issue guidance that federal funding can be used for integration, a letter sent to several congressional leaders today says. As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, it is imperative that our school districts keep pace by promoting school integration and its tremendous benefits. The U.S. Department of Education should issue guidance that federal funding can be used for integration.

“Over the past few years, locally-led integration movements have emerged across the country,” said Gina Chirichigno, director of the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD). “As they develop, stakeholders need adequate resourcing and support to do this challenging work well. We urge Congress to take another step toward providing communities with the assistance they need, for the benefit of our students and our society.”

The letter, signed by 40 organizations, specifically asks Congress to:

  • Increase funding for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program to at least $500 million, a five-fold increase from the FY 2021 budget;
  • Allocate $120 million for a grant program that would support locally-led efforts to develop comprehensive strategies that promote racial and socioeconomic school integration;
  • Build upon its action in December to strike the last standing prohibition on the use of federal funds for transportation to support school integration, by directing the U.S. Department of Education to release guidance that would make states, districts, and communities aware of this change that unlocks long-standing federal programs and funding sources that can be used to support integrated and inclusive school environments through school transportation; and
  • Remind states and districts that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act school improvement funds can be used to support school integration.
“We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and integrated and inclusive schools that will reduce tokenism, break-down stereotypes, and produce cross-cultural understanding and friendships are vital to furthering racial equity,” said David Hinojosa, director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It has been proven that equal educational opportunity is key to ending structural racism and systemic inequality. Congress must use the federal budget to promote the strength of our diversity and help deconstruct systemic barriers to opportunity.”

Today, many of our nation’s schools are resegregating at alarming rates, and many students are missing out on the numerous advantages that come with an inclusive and integrated classroom environment. Research shows that higher educational achievement, increased civic participation, and more advanced social and historical thinking are all achieved with an integrated environment. School segregation reinforces inequities, and disproportionately deprives students of color of the critical resources and supports that are needed.

ConstantContact version is here.

“Nothing About Us” – April 17th Screening

Our next screening of Epic Theatre Ensemble’s virtual play, Nothing About Us, will take place on April 17, 2021 at 3pm ET.

Learn more and register here. You can also contact Jim Wallert at jim@epictheatreensemble.org.
Our monthly screenings lead up to our 50 State Conversation about segregation and educational inequality on May 17 (the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education). Hosted by NCSD, in collaboration with Epic Theatre Ensemble and Dodd Human Rights Impact (UCONN).

About the play: NOTHING ABOUT US is a rigorous, passionate and hilarious exploration of educational segregation written and performed by those most affected and least consulted: NYC Public High School students. What does separate but equal mean to us today? Running time: 30 minutes.

50 State Conversation on May 17, 2021

On May 17, the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, take part in a conversation about segregation with participants from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC. Hosted by NCSD, in collaboration with Epic Theatre Ensemble and Dodd Human Rights Impact (UCONN).

Our dialogue will center around Epic Theatre Ensemble’s film NOTHING ABOUT US.

NOTHING ABOUT US is a rigorous, passionate and hilarious exploration of educational segregation written and performed by those most affected and least consulted: NYC Public High School students. What does separate but equal mean to us today? Running time: 30 minutes.

Watch the trailer here:

How you can help:
  • We’re seeking audience members, promoters, co-hosts, and creators (described here) across the country.
  • Connect us with with drama teachers, community theaters, and arts organizations in your state.
  • Share this information with your network.
Learn more and register here. You can also contact Jim Wallert at jim@epictheatreensemble.org.

School Integration Priorities for a Biden/Harris Admin

We asked NCSD members to weigh in on school integration priorities for the Biden/Harris administration.

Building on our First 100 Days agenda, here’s our more complete School Integration Priorities for a Biden/Harris Administration.

10 Ways the Biden/Harris Administration Can Prioritize School Integration in its First 100 Days

We asked NCSD members to weigh in on school integration priorities for the Biden/Harris administration.

Here’s what we came up with for the first 100 days:

10 Ways the Biden/Harris Administration Can Prioritize School Integration in its First 100 Days

We’ll be sharing more ideas soon…stay tuned!

Virtual Performance of "Nothing About Us" (11/9/2020)

Our next installment of #NCSD2020 will be a virtual performance of “Nothing About Us,” an original play about segregation by NY-based EPIC Theatre Ensemble. Co-hosted by: Integrated Schools, Public School Forum of North Carolina, and Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO).

Find out more about this event (and register) at http://nothingaboutus.eventbrite.com. Happening November 9th at 8pm ET.

NCSD Co-sponsoring Hill Briefing with LPI (10/22/20)


Learning Policy Institute Congressional Briefing (Virtual) – “State and Federal Opportunities to Support More Diverse and Inclusive School Systems”

On October 22, 2020, we will be partnering with the Learning Policy Institute to present the congressional briefing “State and Federal Opportunities to Support More Diverse and Inclusive School Systems.” The nation’s work towards greater racial equity and a more just society in many ways begins with more diverse and inclusive learning environments. Yet public schools are increasingly segregated along both racial and socioeconomic lines. Many of the most extremely segregated schools are also the most under-resourced, disproportionately staffed by inexperienced educators, lack of access to quality curriculum, and lack of quality facilities or access to technology. Even where there is student diversity, access to a diverse and inclusive learning environment may still be out of reach. Research shows diverse learning environments and experiences can improve outcomes for all students and help prepare them for participating in a diverse, global economy. States and the federal government can play a critical role in creating more diverse and inclusive school systems and in supporting and accelerating state and local efforts.

Hosted by the Learning Policy Institute and the National Coalition on School Diversity. Sponsored by Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).

Please RSVP here.

When: October 22 at 1:00pm ET

Strength in Diversity Passes in House on 9/15

In a historic bipartisan vote on Sept 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Strength in Diversity Act with over 100 co-sponsors. The proposed legislation, one of NCSD’s two main policy priorities during this Congress, would provide support and funding for voluntary, locally-driven efforts to further racial and socioeconomic integration in schools.

Strength in Diversity Act: Key Resources

Related Articles

 

NCSD in the News: Education Week Covers Passage of Strength in Diversity in House

House Passes Signature Bills on School Integration and Discrimination
by Andrew Ujifusa
September 15, 2020 (updated September 16, 2020)
Education Week

“Groups like AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Coalition on School Diversity have backed the bill. This past summer, we spoke to the author of the Senate version, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., about why protests against racial injustice underscored the importance of the Strength in Diversity Act.”

Press Release: NCSD-Endorsed Strength in Diversity Act Passes in Historic U.S. House Vote

EMBARGOED UNTIL TUES, 9/15, AFTER VOTE
CONTACT: Michael Mouton
Communications & Partnerships Manager – NCSD
mmouton@prrac.org
281-796-0570

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.

Read the full press release.