New Joint Federal Guidance Will Lead to Increased Diversity in Schools, Improve Education

December 12, 2011 1:22 pm

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WASHINGTON – New guidance from the Department of Education and Department of Justice issued today to school districts across the country explains how schools, colleges, and universities can, through voluntary policies, permissibly consider the race of students in carefully constructed plans to promote diversity and reduce racial isolation.

The new guidance gives schools tools they need to the implement voluntary diversity and integration standards set out in the Supreme Court’s decisions in Parents Involved v. Seattle Schools (2007) and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). In these cases, the court recognized the compelling interest of learning with a diverse student body – at both the K-12 level and in higher education.

“Many of our nation’s public schools are becoming increasingly re-segregated – more so than 40 years ago,” said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU senior legislative counsel. “Today’s guidance gives schools a road map for designing programs that promote diversity and prevent racial isolation, which will benefit all students. Diverse learning environments will help dismantle stereotypes, increase students’ understanding of other viewpoints and opinions, and prepare the next generation for an increasingly interconnected world. This guidance will help give schools the tools they need to make those fundamental values a reality.”

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