I was just part of a zoom seminar presented by The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD), a network of “national civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions working to expand support for government policies that promote school diversity and reduce racial and economic isolation in elementary and secondary schools.”
Poverty Hurts Education
As the NCSD reminds us, “Attending a high-poverty, racially isolated school is
a leading predictor of academic failure” (school-diversity.org). Although poverty’s devastating effect on American citizens is well documented, it is especially difficult for our children because it hurts their chances to become educated.
Title I Does Not Currently Help Desegregation
Unfortunately, Title I, the Federal law that should help impoverished students does not penalize districts for increasing segregated schools. Title I was meant to help these students but, “The larger problem, however, is that Title I does not require any level of inter-district equity, where the greatest disparities exist” (school-diversity.org). With changes to the law, and financial revisements to the law, school districts have become 3 times more segregated since the 1960s.
“Children and taxpayers are cheated when recipients of federal funds disregard critical requirements of Title I. Widespread noncompliance is occurring, and this demands real enforcement tools.”(school-diversity.org).
Give Students and Their Parents Their Title I Rights
A policy solution would include giving students and their parents legal standing to advocate for their educational right to inclusion in good schools. At this time, states and districts do not have to answer to parents about their concerns of the diversity of their schools, the equity that their schools provide in giving everyone access to a quality education, and inclusion in the best models for education and the most powerful magnet schools. Let’s bring our students together to learn, build relationships, and thrive as our democracy.