DeVos Doesn’t Believe that Promoting Racial Diversity in Schools Is a Worthwhile Cause

The Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded federal guidance, including guidelines created in 2011 to promote racial diversity in higher education and end the growing racial isolation in K-12 classrooms. The move reflects the administration’s latest attempt to retreat on the important progress made since Brown v. Board of Education prohibited school segregation 64 years ago and despite Supreme Court rulings protecting affirmative action.

The move is particularly disturbing because the guidelines, put in place by the Obama administration, did not break new ground. Instead, they provided a thoughtful and clear explanation of two Supreme Court cases governing the use of race in K-12 education and higher education. Those two cases, Parents Involved v. Seattle Schools and Grutter v. Bollinger, recognized the importance of promoting diversity in learning environments and established parameters for doing so. While their ruling still stands today, DeVos’ announcement signals a dangerous hostility from the Trump administration towards the idea that promoting racial diversity is in the best interest of America.

The guidance documents were not controversial, as they acknowledged a problem that both education experts and the courts have long recognized: Too many of our nation’s classrooms are racially and economically isolated, and that this isolation is only increasing among students. The guidance also outlined the Supreme Court’s explicit recognition that promoting diversity and avoiding racial isolation in schools are not only compelling governmental interests but also among the nation’s highest priorities. The guidance demonstrated the various ways that efforts to create diverse student bodies in schools and universities can be done effectively, fairly, and in compliance with the existing law in order to improve the quality of education for all students.

Given that the guidance served to accurately describe the current state of the law, the decision to rescind them can only be seen as a repudiation of the idea that diversity is a desirable and achievable goal in education. This is dangerous, considering research shows that school segregation is getting worse. And the impacts of desegregating schools are well-documented, including improved academic performance, reduced involvement in the criminal justice system, and better rates of employment. Revoking the guidelines is a decision that risks the reintroduction of division and segregation in our schools and seeks to pull us back to a time when schools were segregated and opportunity was allocated along racial, ethnic, and economic lines.

Fortunately, no action by the Trump administration can alter the fact that the law is defined by the Supreme Court decisions that the 2011 guidance accurately described. Under those cases, schools, colleges, and universities can take the steps necessary to provide the high quality, diverse education that all of the nation’s students deserve. By continuing to take those steps, the educational institutions will be taking up the mantle so shamefully dropped by the administration today.

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Anonymous

The word diverse is the opposite as the word uniform. So promoting diversity would be promoting the idea that blacks are different from whites are different from Asians are different from Mexicans, etc. Shouldn't we instead be promoting the idea that we are all the same if we want to reduce or eliminate racism? Much is said about America being a melting pot and that has made us into this great nation. I would agree, but the key is in the melting. It's like baking a cake. You put in a bunch of different ingredients and end up with a fantastic desert, but only if you mix those ingredients. If you don't mix them together into one uniform ingredient to put in the pan, it will not been any good to eat after baking. Promoting uniformity, while not excluding anyone, is far superior to promoting diversity.

Anonymous

I think you miss the premise Teaching diversity is about teaching the differences so that people will learn not to be afraid, to respect, appreciate and understand the differences between us . Because we are different. Different doesn't mean bad its just different. But there are so many misconceptions, ignorance and lies about the differences in people. There are myths about every ethnicity. Things that we have heard and believe about others that make us fear them or not like them or disrespect them. An African American Veteran once told me that his first introduction to German society in the 1940 s was to a woman who asked him if it was true that black people grew tails after dark. A Philippian gentleman shared that as a teenager in the Philippines his knowledge about African Americans came from White people who visited the town where he lived. And he came to the United States, filled with fear and believing terrible things about Black people. I've heard the urban myth where it was once believed that Jews sucked the blood of non Jewish children. These are just examples. But good reason why diversity needs to be taught. We are a melting pot. But like any successful dish the ingredients must compliment each other to work well together That requires knowledge about the ingredients, that knowledge includes origins of it, and why they can mix or not. If it does not mix 'well what element may be added so that the ingredients can work together. Ask a chef, they dont just learn recipes but they learn the origins of ingredients as well and why things mix well or not. Diversity in education is important because humans are uniquely different .

Wendy

So whose “uniformity” do we promote?

David Flamenco

Morgan Freeman was asked how to end racism. Morgan said,"Quit talking about it"!

Anonymous

"Diversity" and "affirmative action" are just distracting from the real problem - in too many poor inner city (and rural areas) children do not have the opportunity to get a decent education. There are a whole lot of (diverse) factors at play but a highschool graduate with aspirations of finishing college was probably not lazy and unwilling to learn. That's especially true if they try a hard major like law, engineering, chemistry, and etc. They would have been much better off with a decent K-12 experience than affirmative action.

Anonymous

"too many poor inner city (and rural areas) children do not have the opportunity to get a decent education."

They have every opportunity. The schools are open five days a week, teachers are there everyday and we spend as much per child as any 1st world nation. I endured desegregation from its outset in 1977 until I graduated in 1983. What a culture shock it was. For every serious black student there were 5 or 6 others acting out in class. Loud, disrespectful of their teachers, fighting etc..I was not culturally enriched by the diversity. Anecdotal? Sure. But I can tell you that everyone I know personally who was a part of this process would not choose it if they had a choice. Black and White and Hispanic and Asian people etc..are different - physically, cognitively, culturally. Just because Progressives "wish" everyone was the same, doesn't make it so. Before the commenters here begin firing their tiresome "racist" arrows I will add that I believe in God and the inherent dignity of every human being. But I am also an objective realist. Exit questions: 1. Where are these studies that prove beyond doubt that Diversity improves educational outcomes for ALL students and B. Will every outraged White commentator please Google the neighborhood they live in and expressed as a percentage describe its ethnic make up? I thought so. Do as I say - not as I do.

H. Shaw

If equal emphasis, and financing were given to ALL schools, we would so much better off. How could anyone believe diversity isn't a GREAT THING!!

Anonymous

VOTE PEOPLE, VOTE THOSE STUPID IDIOT REPUBLICANS OUT OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT....

Anonymous

So this how they are going to make America White Again. And these people will claim to be Christians.

Lynn

As an African American I resent that comment that diversity lowers the levels of Education. I have it always scored very high and whatever classes that I have been in maintaining a 4.0 average all throughout high school and in college. My daughter has been on the Dean's List for all four years of her College Years and was a straight-A student from the time she started school of what she skipped kindergarten started directly in the first grade at the age of 5 so don't give me that we are not intelligent because people are most third world countries are more intelligent than anybody that's being educated here in the US.

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