Press Release: 40 organizations join NCSD in requesting removal of anti-integration riders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5/31/18

CONTACT
Michael Mouton, Communications & Partnerships Manager
National Coalition on School Diversity
mmouton@prrac.org

Washington, DC – Over 40 organizations that collectively represent millions of educators, advocates, and other education leaders signed on to two letters submitted to Congress today by the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD),  requesting that lawmakers commit to removing anti-integration provisions in their FY 2019 appropriations bills. The provisions have been included in appropriations legislation since at least 1974.

The letters, addressed to House and Senate appropriators, urged Congress to “not include any provisions in the FY 2019 appropriations bills that prohibit federal funding from being used for transportation to further public school racial integration.”

Co-signers include a diversity of organizations and individuals, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, School Superintendents Association (AASA), National Education Association, and American Federation of Teachers.

Signers are concerned that the anti-integration provisions will 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.”

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.

“NCSD, along with the diverse co-signers of our letter, firmly believe that Sections 301 and 302 are from a bygone era,” said Gina Chirichigno, NCSD director.  “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.”

For more information, please visit www.school-diversity.org/rider2019, which is dedicated to this subject.

About NCSD:

The National Coalition on School Diversity is network of 50+ civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, practitioners, and state and local coalitions working to support government policies that promote school diversity and reduce racial isolation.

www.school-diversity.org

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