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Despite the rhetoric of classroom diversity, new doubts have arisen about the Trump administration’s commitment to promoting that value.

The Washington Post reports that the Education Department terminated an Obama-era grant program that funds local school districts seeking ways to increase socioeconomic diversity.

A department spokesman said former President Barack Obama’s $12 million grant program unwisely spends public funds for planning but not implementing diversity initiatives. He added that people should not read into this decision that the new administration is uninterested in promoting diversity.

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told the Brookings Institution on March 29 that she personally supports socioeconomic and racial diversity because it offers “a real benefit in schools,” The Post reported.

Despite her assurances, many school diversity advocates are worried, saying there’s a mismatch between the Trump administration’s rhetoric and actions.

“This [meeting] was the secretary’s first opportunity to show her commitment to school diversity, and she failed to come through,” said Philip Tegeler of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, according to the newspaper.

While the administration retools, school districts nationwide are rediscovering the benefits of classroom diversity. Social and legal constraints have made pursuing race-based classroom diversity difficult. Alternatively, education officials are achieving racial diversity through socioeconomic integration.

A Century Foundation report underscores a large body of evidence that shows racially diverse classrooms narrow the academic achievement gap and offers social benefits to all students.

SOURCE: Washington Post


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