Improving the turnaround schools model: In its announcement of the final rules for the School Improvement Grants program, the Department of Education has indicated that SIG funds can be used to support a magnet school type model, “to promote college and career readiness as well as more diverse and integrated classrooms.” This announcement reflects advocacy by PRRAC and the National Coalition on School Diversity, and endorses the recent decision of New York State to use school turnaround funds for socioeconomic school integration (see summary here). Notably, the Department’s announcement does not create priorities or incentives for integrated schools – states are still free to use federal school turnaround funds without making any efforts to reduce extreme racial isolation and poverty concentration in the school. So for the time being, this new policy opportunity will need to be supported by advocacy at the state level to be effective.
Delays in AFFH compliance? We contributed to a comment letter to HUD with the Lawyers Committee and twenty other groups responding to a HUD suggestion in the Federal Register that some PHAs, states, and entitlement jurisdictions should be given additional time to prepare their “Assessments of Fair Housing” under the new “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule. The HUD notice is curious, since the final AFFH rule hasn’t even come out yet, but we responded with some suggested guidelines as to when delays would – and would not – be appropriate.
ESEA Reauthorization in Congress: We prepared a response on behalf of the National Coalition on School Diversity, to a Senate Committee draft bill reauthorizing the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The NCSD letter focused on the lack of diversity incentives in the bill, the importance of preserving civil rights protections in the current law, and the dangers of a “money follows the child” provision that, without a careful integration funding design, could increase racial and economic segregation and undermine struggling high poverty schools.
Statement on the Chapel Hill shootings: We joined other national civil rights organizations in the America Healing network in a joint statement on the tragic recent events in North Carolina.
Other resources and events
Housing and school integration: Great article by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley in the Teachers College Record demonstrates how metropolitan school integration policies in four southern school districts improved housing integration in those regions. Download this week before the content goes private: http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=16988
Othering and Belonging: The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society is sponsoring an innovative multidisciplinary conference in Oakland on April 24-26 to “bring together scholars, researchers, advocates, and organizers to examine the issue of Othering, a set of processes that engender marginality across any of the full range of human differences, such as race, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, statehood, ethnicity, ability/disability, sexual orientation, and more.” Conference information and registration at www.otheringandbelonging.org.