Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the House passed the Strength in Diversity Act by a 248-167 vote. This legislation promotes socioeconomic and racial diversity in America’s early childhood education programs and K-12 public schools by creating a federal grant program to support voluntary, community-driven efforts to develop, implement, and expand school diversity initiatives.
“Classroom diversity benefits all students, exposing them to different perspectives and preparing them to be citizens of a diverse society. But 66 years after Brown v. Board, American schools are failing to deliver on the promise of equity in education,” said Luján. “The Strength in Diversity Act empowers communities to advance diversity initiatives among students, school leaders, and educators in order to improve academic outcomes for all students, particularly students of color and low-income students.”
The Strength in Diversity Act authorizes federal funding to provide planning and implementation grants to support voluntary local efforts to increase racial diversity and socioeconomic diversity. Grants could fund a range of proposals, including (but not limited to):
- Planning Grants to study segregation, evaluating current policies, and developing evidence-based plans to address racial and socioeconomic isolation;
- Implementation Grants to recruit, hire, and train additional teachers and staff from diverse cultural, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds; and
- Both Planning and Implementation Grants to better engage communities to improve diversity in schools.
The bill supports school districts, independently or in collaboration with neighboring districts, as well as regional educational authorities and educational service agencies.