Today, the US Department of Education announced a new grant program—Fostering Diverse Schools—that allocates $10 million to support community-driven school integration solutions. The program was created using money set aside from Title IV-A of the Every Students Succeeds Act, and will provide technical assistance and capacity building in the form of 5 to 12 grants to local school diversity efforts.
The first-of-the-kind grant program was the direct result of advocacy by The Century Foundation and partners. The TCF team has been working with the Department of Education to spread word about the new program and encourage Local Education Agencies to apply.
In response to the announcement, TCF experts said the following:
“This new grant program is an important statement of federal support for school integration. We know that socioeconomically and racially diverse learning environments help students in elementary, secondary, and higher education sharpen their critical thinking and analytical skills, break down stereotypes and reduce bias, and enable schools to fulfill their role in opening doors for students of all backgrounds.” —Stefan Lallinger, TCF Senior Fellow and Director of the Bridges Collaborative, TCF’s grassroots school integration initiative
“We know that socioeconomically and racially diverse learning environments help set students up for success in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world, but school districts and states need support to make this a reality for more students. The Fostering Diverse Schools Program represents a historic new vehicle to make our classrooms diverse, inclusive, and welcoming for students from all backgrounds.” —Halley Potter, TCF Senior Fellow
TCF’s recent research and advocacy have helped create several opportunities for more students to access diverse schools in the omnibus appropriations act, in addition to the Fostering Diverse Schools program, including:
- Increased funding for magnet schools with a focus on inter-district efforts;
- The removal of the final anti-integration riders that previously prohibited federal funds from being used for school desegregation transportation;
- Report language encouraging the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to issue reports on school district secession and federal desegregation orders.