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house Bill H.R. 2639

Should the Federal Gov’t Give Local Education Agencies Funding to Make Changes to Districts Aimed at Increasing Racial & Socioeconomic Diversity?

Argument in favor

Fostering diversity in schools is an important component of raising children who empathize with and seek to establish bonds with others of differing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. This is important for both success and belonging in an increasingly multicultural world, and the federal government should provide funding to local educational agencies for those purposes.

Simone's Opinion
···
09/15/2020
It’s evident with the things that have been brought more awareness of the racism that still plagues our country. More awareness is very much so that other races me have a greater knowledge, and comprehension what it means to be black, brown in our country and the history of racism to make it a better place that we call home
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Bruce's Opinion
···
09/16/2020
Our school are just as racially segregated as they were before "desegregation". That is a very bad thing for a variety of reasons. First, people fear what they don't know. Second, it encourages stereotyping and racism. But even more important--the segregation of neighborhoods, cities and schools guarantees that minority schools have a great deal less tax money to maintain their schools, provide books, hire teachers, etc.
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Vincent's Opinion
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09/16/2020
This bill should be a pathway to include true African American history in the mainstream curriculum.
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Argument opposed

This legislation was drafted on a purely partisan basis and has no chance of becoming law as written. It’s poorly conceived and a more bipartisan solution would allow the funding to go directly to school districts rather than adding a layer of bureaucracy, in addition to expanding school choice for families. On the other hand, it’s limited only to communities that want to participate, so communities that most need to engage in school desegregation efforts are unlikely to be affected by this legislation.

larubia's Opinion
···
09/15/2020
Better idea: ensure quality education for all students. Level the playing ground with exceptional Pre-K programs beginning at 3 years old in “at-risk” areas. Target literacy, STEM & technology skills. Ensure high quality teachers are attracted & retained in these neighborhoods. As a teacher & principal, I worked my entire career in Title I, “at-risk”, inner-city schools where the majority of the population spoke English as their second language. I hired the very best teachers & had rigorous training for staff, parent literacy programs, and community support. We were able to have the highest test scores not only in our zone, but in the school district & state. There is an answer to equality: quality education for all students!!!!
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Ranaln's Opinion
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09/15/2020
The federal government has only ruined the education system, completely privatize it, give vouchers, grants but let the parents pick where their kids go to school. If we gave everyone a choice without the federal government involved the public schools would close and our children would be much better educated. The house bill should not be trusted for the simple fact the house is controlled by criminal democrats. Get the government out education, save our children!
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Frank-001's Opinion
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09/15/2020
Dear Representatives, ¶ I urge you to NOT support House Bill H.R. 2639. It sounds too much like a previous failed government intervention, busing. ¶ There has been much analysis and writing on the failures of busing. ¶ Shuttling around students in my area caused intense animosity and violence even amongst the older students. ¶ Instead there is a far better solution provide the resources to ensure Quality Education for all students. I agree 100% with a fellow Causes member, @Larubia that dedication and training and targeting is important. Also, I need to add a most fundamental point and is too often ignored, we need Smaller Class Sizes from K through 12. Class sizes need to be cut to no more than 12 students per class. Then, providing well trained, competent teachers with well developed curricula and resources we should see vast improvement in our chikdren's education. ¶ There has been much research and analysis showing that small class size is crucial to improving education. ¶ For example see https://www.classsizematters.org/research-and-links/ ¶ Simply do a search on "Small Class Size" for more on the strategy. ¶ Edit: 2020-09-23 I add another point. I re-read @Larubia’s comment. She rightly gives emphasis to so-called STEM courses I. e. A rigorous education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I also want to see an equal age appropriate focus on Language Arts, Social Studies & Cultural Studies, Foreign Language and the Arts in their various forms, and Physical Education. In addition we need to integrate practical courses like personal organization, time management, cooking, car maintenance, personal finance, etc. Further, we need to make sure that education ensures inquiry, joy of learning and creativity. ¶ ¶ From @Larubia: "Better idea: ensure quality education for all students. Level the playing ground with exceptional Pre-K programs beginning at 3 years old in “at-risk” areas. Target literacy, STEM & technology skills. Ensure high quality teachers are attracted & retained in these neighborhoods. As a teacher & principal, I worked my entire career in Title I, “at-risk”, inner-city schools where the majority of the population spoke English as their second language. I hired the very best teachers & had rigorous training for staff, parent literacy programs, and community support. We were able to have the highest test scores not only in our zone, but in the school district & state. There is an answer to equality: quality education for all students!!!!" ¶ ###
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What is House Bill H.R. 2639?

This bill would direct the Dept. of Education to award grants to specified educational agencies (e.g., local educational agencies) to develop or implement plans to improve diversity and reduce or eliminate racial and/or socioeconomic isolation in publicly-funded early childhood education programs, public elementary schools and public secondary schools. Grant recipients would be required to use the grants to support students through certain activities, such as weighted lotteries or school boundary redesign, intended to improve diversity in schools.

Grant recipients would be required to design high-quality plans to support students. Accordingly, plans would be required to include comprehensive sets of strategies designed to improve academic outcomes for all students, particularly students of color and low-income students. Alternatively, grant recipients could also use funds received under this bill to recruit additional teachers and staff, to invest in specialized academic programs, or to develop innovative and equitable school assignment plans.

This bill would also allow the Dept. of Education to carry out national activities under the grant program. These could include developing best practices for grant recipients and other school diversity experts.

Finally, this bill would require the Dept. of Education to establish performance measures for this program and its related activities.

Impact

Youth; schools; diversity; racial and socioeconomic diversity in publicly-funded schools; and the Dept. of Education.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2639

$89.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill could authorize the appropriation of $12 million in FY2020, and that its annual spending would increase to $14 million FY2026. Based on historical spending patterns, the CBO estimates that this bill would cost $48 million over the 2019-2024 period and $89 million over the 2019-2029 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced this bill to promote diversity in schools by creating a federal grant program to support voluntary, community-driven strategies to increase diversity in schools:

“The Strength in Diversity Act will help promote the desegregation of, and elimination of racial and socioeconomic isolation in, all of our nation’s schools. The bill enables school districts and communities to invest in inclusive public education by supporting effective solutions enforcing the spirit and letter of the decision in Brown v. Board of Education. I am proud to again sponsor the Strength in Diversity Act in the House to ensure the Department of Education enhances six decades of American progress since Brown and halts the resurgence of segregated schools, programs and classrooms.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), sponsor of this bill’s Senate companion, adds:

“The federal government needs to be doing more to support local efforts to make education a more diverse and inclusive experience. Far too often, for reasons of legacy or policy, students of color or in low-income communities are shut out of the opportunity to get a good education. As years of research have shown us, school integration benefits students and communities. Our bill will help in this effort by providing grants to school districts that want to increase diversity in schools.”

The National Coalition on School Diversity Steering Committee is among a number of education advocacy groups that supports this bill. Philip Tegeler, a member of the Coalition, says:

“This bill recognizes that school segregation in the 21st Century is about both racial and economic isolation. More often than not, segregation happens across school district lines. This is precisely the kind of funding support that innovative local school districts need to address segregation – and it will encourage districts to work together to craft new approaches to address racial and economic isolation.”

Despite supporting this bill, some proponents of school desegregation acknowledge that this legislation has significant shortcomings, mostly owing to the fact that it’s limited only to communities that choose to participate in the program. However, Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California - Los Angeles, says, “This is a glass of water in a desert of policy in this area. This is not a bill that’s going to change the world, but it could change the discussion.”

House Committee on Education and Labor Committee Republicans, who opposed this bill’s passage out of committee, called this legislation’s approach “a way sure to add to the federal government’s long list of broken promises” with regard to better integrating schools. In their minority views report, the Republicans contended the Rep. Rick Allen’s (R-GA) substitute amendment to this legislation, which would have expanded the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG) in the Every Student Succeeds Act to allow school districts to use funds to reduce or eliminate racial or socioeconomic isolation in schools, offered a better approach to giving school districts federal funds for school diversity efforts. Committee Republicans concluded:

“While there is significant alignment between Committee Democrats’ and Committee Republicans’ goals with respect to H.R. 2639, Committee Republicans also believe expanding opportunities for students should be a priority. School choice gives families the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and enroll their children in challenging environments that better develops their skills and intellects, encouraging them to reach higher… As outlined in these Minority Views, H.R. 2639 is a lost opportunity. Bipartisan compromise was possible to advance the shared goals of addressing the effects of racial and socioeconomic isolation in education. Unfortunately, Committee Democrats chose a partisan path. Additionally, Committee Republicans believe no effort to erase the evil legacy of segregation and discrimination can be complete without eliminating the state's ability to trap students in low-performing schools. We invite Democrats to listen to parents desperate for better educational options for their children.”

This bill passed the House Committee on Education and Labor by a 26-20 vote with the support of 105 Democratic House cosponsors. Its Senate companion (S.1418), sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), has six Senate cosponsors, including five Democrats and one Independent, and has yet to receive a committee vote.

Numerous educational, racial justice, and teachers’ advocacy organizations support this bill. They include the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP-LDF), and National Education Association (NEA).


Of NoteIn a 2018 research brief, the National Coalition on School Diversity made the case that diversity strengthens schools and prepares youth to thrive in multicultural societies of the future. Among its findings, the NCSD report found that giving youth from different racial and ethnic backgrounds opportunities to have “sustained contact with each other” and establish cross-racial friendships are important elements of bringing youth together across racial and ethnic lines.

The Obama administration, particularly former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., placed a high value on the importance of diversity. Towards the end of the Obama presidency, the administration introduced a $12 million grant program to boost diversity in schools. However, before it was able to get off the ground, that program was pulled by Trump administration Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. DeVos has also rescinded Obama-era guidance highlighting ways for schools to promote racial diversity.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: Unsplash / CDC)

AKA

Strength in Diversity Act of 2020

Official Title

To establish the Strength in Diversity Program, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed September 15th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 248 Yea / 167 Nay
    IntroducedMay 9th, 2019

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    It’s evident with the things that have been brought more awareness of the racism that still plagues our country. More awareness is very much so that other races me have a greater knowledge, and comprehension what it means to be black, brown in our country and the history of racism to make it a better place that we call home
    Like (25)
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    Better idea: ensure quality education for all students. Level the playing ground with exceptional Pre-K programs beginning at 3 years old in “at-risk” areas. Target literacy, STEM & technology skills. Ensure high quality teachers are attracted & retained in these neighborhoods. As a teacher & principal, I worked my entire career in Title I, “at-risk”, inner-city schools where the majority of the population spoke English as their second language. I hired the very best teachers & had rigorous training for staff, parent literacy programs, and community support. We were able to have the highest test scores not only in our zone, but in the school district & state. There is an answer to equality: quality education for all students!!!!
    Like (59)
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    I support this bill because I believe that the path to racial social justice requires that people from different racial/ethnic backgrounds need to co-mingle and get to know one another better, to breakdown biases based on stereotypical anecdotes (on all sides) and truly come to understand the humanitarian values which we all share. However, the time for this bill is not now- unless it’s implementation can be legislatively delayed until after January. DeVoss and her business partner (which the trump quite literally is, with co-owned properties) do not have a good nor much of track record of actually using legislated funds in accordance with legislated requirements. No funds touching the greedy paws of DeVoss- wait until her evil countenance is excised from our governance.
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    The federal government has only ruined the education system, completely privatize it, give vouchers, grants but let the parents pick where their kids go to school. If we gave everyone a choice without the federal government involved the public schools would close and our children would be much better educated. The house bill should not be trusted for the simple fact the house is controlled by criminal democrats. Get the government out education, save our children!
    Like (31)
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    Dear Representatives, ¶ I urge you to NOT support House Bill H.R. 2639. It sounds too much like a previous failed government intervention, busing. ¶ There has been much analysis and writing on the failures of busing. ¶ Shuttling around students in my area caused intense animosity and violence even amongst the older students. ¶ Instead there is a far better solution provide the resources to ensure Quality Education for all students. I agree 100% with a fellow Causes member, @Larubia that dedication and training and targeting is important. Also, I need to add a most fundamental point and is too often ignored, we need Smaller Class Sizes from K through 12. Class sizes need to be cut to no more than 12 students per class. Then, providing well trained, competent teachers with well developed curricula and resources we should see vast improvement in our chikdren's education. ¶ There has been much research and analysis showing that small class size is crucial to improving education. ¶ For example see https://www.classsizematters.org/research-and-links/ ¶ Simply do a search on "Small Class Size" for more on the strategy. ¶ Edit: 2020-09-23 I add another point. I re-read @Larubia’s comment. She rightly gives emphasis to so-called STEM courses I. e. A rigorous education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I also want to see an equal age appropriate focus on Language Arts, Social Studies & Cultural Studies, Foreign Language and the Arts in their various forms, and Physical Education. In addition we need to integrate practical courses like personal organization, time management, cooking, car maintenance, personal finance, etc. Further, we need to make sure that education ensures inquiry, joy of learning and creativity. ¶ ¶ From @Larubia: "Better idea: ensure quality education for all students. Level the playing ground with exceptional Pre-K programs beginning at 3 years old in “at-risk” areas. Target literacy, STEM & technology skills. Ensure high quality teachers are attracted & retained in these neighborhoods. As a teacher & principal, I worked my entire career in Title I, “at-risk”, inner-city schools where the majority of the population spoke English as their second language. I hired the very best teachers & had rigorous training for staff, parent literacy programs, and community support. We were able to have the highest test scores not only in our zone, but in the school district & state. There is an answer to equality: quality education for all students!!!!" ¶ ###
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    Sounds like they are trying to resurrect busing? What they don’t realize is white students are now a minority. Maybe they should focus on equal allocation of resources as it’s no longer physically possible to move students around to racially/ethnically balance populations. https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/white-students-are-now-the-minority-in-u-s-public-schools
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    Our school are just as racially segregated as they were before "desegregation". That is a very bad thing for a variety of reasons. First, people fear what they don't know. Second, it encourages stereotyping and racism. But even more important--the segregation of neighborhoods, cities and schools guarantees that minority schools have a great deal less tax money to maintain their schools, provide books, hire teachers, etc.
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    This bill should be a pathway to include true African American history in the mainstream curriculum.
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    YES
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    Schools have been destroyed and train hate and stupidity. No real history, very little math. Racism is born of Liberalism and it’s training of hate. Liberals have been so lies to by the media and schools and trained only to hate. Read below on the misguided attacks on the President with the lies and miss quotes about everything he does and says it’s truly sad something that started out looking right had turned to hate and violence and looting. If for instance Biden who won’t win did win he’d raise the poor and everyone’s taxes to pay for wasteful things and bankrupt the nation. Far left is running the weak minded Democrats and they can’t even see that the end result will be the end of the United States and the starvation of the poor
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    I have heard arguments both for and against this, by people who (whom?) I respect (i.e. Larubia and JimK)......Education is key to help solve any problem......increase in the quality of our education is needed right across the board.....This will NOT happen in the age of Trump.....he and Devos want to dismantle our schools and privatize them, like they want to privatize the Post Ofiice, our prison system etc. We have got enough on our plate at present what with Covid and Trump trying to destroy our democracy in every way possible.
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    No tax payer dollars should ever fund discrimination and unequal opportunity, ever! There is no such thing as affirmative action when it ultimately directly results in a discriminatory action toward another. Our constitution secures equal opportunity, and that means that government does not choose or dictate who has the ability to benefit from such opportunity. Any taxpayer funding of such government actions are unconstitutional and discriminatory. Government is not to pick winners and losers. All people have the individual liberty and right to choose what opportunities they wish to pursue. Nobody should be provided a guaranteed outcome of opportunity by government, because that only takes away the equal opportunity that existed.
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    No, there is plenty of information. Emphasis should be equality for all and not special privileges for those are hellbent on being permanent victims versus stepping up appropriately and proving themselves as hard workers and just as intelligent as anyone in any other ethnicity. Emphasis should not be on skin color but content of character, integrity, and effort to work hard!!
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    Yes, because diversity has unlimited benefits throughout American society. No, because I have concern about whether this grant funding would be sent to districts that are predominantly white to promote diversity. It is not the black populations responsibility or obligation to now step into white populations. It’s often put on black Americans shoulders as if they are responsible for including themselves. It’s time white Americans put forth the effort and step outside of their comfort zone. Asking the black population to do the work is wrong. THAT is what needs to end. Each district receives funding as it is. It would, then, perhaps be more economically and socially responsible to ensure that the funds received are not discouraging diversity and are inclusive and considerate of all races. Until we know where we stand, we can’t appropriately and responsibly make decisions like this. It’s not too far off to say that we absolutely have not evaluated districts’ position on diversity and how that plays into NOT ONLY inclusion, but into educating white Americans about different races in a way that accurately represents them as well. A school district doesn’t have to be diverse to enact change that allows room for greater understanding of our fellow Americans and racial differences. Nor should the number of non-white students in any district prevent the district from initiating such changes. A black person doesn’t have to be in the room for us to deem them relevant. Offering grants to simply “address” and create a “plan” to close gaps between racial differences may not be necessarily relevant. Black communities are not “extra”. While some communities certainly need “extra” to address the gaps that already exist. It’s important to ensure that the funds that are currently provided to districts is being used to support the students that are enrolled today. A districts’ budget SHOULD ALREADY be inclusive of black students and education of black history, culture, etc. in the first place and it cannot be stressed enough - it NEEDS to be. All it takes a thought into the content we provide students with. Including, but not limited to, how the context is discussed and further perceived, why it contributes to racism, and how to lessen the gap to contribute to a meaningful impact. This “extra” effort can easily be revoked in the future and the students who were afforded equal opportunity would no longer be offered the same education. It continues to leave minority populations in a vulnerable place and doesn’t necessarily fix the issue at hand. While it can impact the discussion, when does the discussion end and turn into action? We’ve been discussing this topic. We are finally growing into a “ah ha” moment. It is discriminatory, at this point, to NOT be making a conscious and continuous effort to end the racial differences and close those gaps. It is not choosing to discriminate, it’s choosing to not be. How that is acceptable is beyond my comprehension. Overall, I feel the better option would be to evaluate where we stand with each individual school district and each budget therein to ensure those districts are funded to the extent they need and with ALL students considered. And, THEN further ensuring the changes are included in the annual budget for the district, moving forward and in every possible gap. The extra effort should be switched to original intent. For example, better representation of black literature in K-12 schools as it is entirely nonexistant in some, or few and far between for many that are predominantly white. This is true for even predominantly black communities. If a public school budget includes public school libraries, the budget also includes purchasing books and materials to be used in relevant classroom learning. For many, it is not even to the point of being relevant. For the districts whose library content does lack black authors, or whose text book and learning material does fail to highlight and celebrate black history, culture, etc., we need to be focusing on evaluating and including that into our consideration in the decisions the district makes from the beginning. Rather than sticking with what’s familiar to the lesson plans. It could be as simple as a routine board meeting for some districts. A district can’t possibly know that until they evaluate and draw conclusions from their assessments. So to say that it’s necessary prior to doing so seems rushed and rather irresponsible. Not sure if that makes sense, hopefully it does. If we continue to go “oh yes we need more material on black history” vs “we need to represent both races equally” Its a 50-50 vote for me, to be honest.
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    Trump already fixed this problem with education reform. He gave power back to the parents to decide where their children go to school... rather than allow crooked dems to decide that 'since you live in this location, you have to go to this school.' More house garbage to rot on Mitch's desk. Update: Washington DC already spends the most money per student, second only to New York state... but DC has the highest poverty rate, and New York isn't far behind. Utah spends the least per student, however the poverty rate is miniscule compared to DC or NY. So, obviously, throwing money at a problem solves nothing, and there's your proof. The difference is single-parent households... Let's look at tthe root of the problem, not a symptom.
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    Absolutely Not! The Public Education System has failed as the students it turns out are not properly educated! Can’t read or write! Have no real communication skills! Do not have math skills and are indoctrinated to hate this country and are taught fake U.S. and World history! They can’t pinpoint a country on a globe! They enter into society as adults with little or no skills as they pertain to the trades! Just indoctrination. We must do much more to promote school choice and have a lot more Charter Schools! The last people in my family to attend public grade/ high school in my family were my parents, aunts and uncles who all graduated in the 1930s into the 40s! When public education was real! As for myself, siblings, sons and daughters it was private school all the way! Not everyone can afford to send their child to private religious school however there are Charter schools that do a great job!
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    I absolutely support this bill as one means of breaking down the barriers which divide us, and which are harmful to everyone—as long as the money doesn’t go to private religious schools.
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    This legislation was drafted on a purely partisan basis and has no chance of becoming law as written. It’s poorly conceived and a more bipartisan solution would allow the funding to go directly to school districts rather than adding a layer of bureaucracy, in addition to expanding school choice for families. On the other hand, it’s limited only to communities that want to participate, so communities that most need to engage in school desegregation efforts are unlikely to be affected by this legislation. SneakyPete
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    We must try to give ALL of our children equal opportunities. Not just the ones that the bitch DeVos deems worthy
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    Schools should be a place of education, not social engineering experimentation. Educating kids to be proficient in core subjects is the best path to helping them and the country achieve success.
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