Grant Program Cancellation
Discontinued on March 29, 2017
President Trump’s education department has chosen to discontinue an Obama Administration grant program meant to encourage schools to foster higher levels of socioeconomic diversity. The $12 million grant program according to a department spokesperson was nixed because it was not a good use of tax dollars, emphasizing that the money was used for planning and not implementation. The program entitled “Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities,” which was announced in December 2016, was designed to aid school districts in “preparing to implement innovative, effective, ambitious, comprehensive, and locally driven strategies” aimed at increasing socioeconomic diversity in schools.” The stated goal was to help improve academic achievement in the lower performing schools. LEARN MORE
As research dictates that a diverse classroom environment bolsters the academic performance of low-income students, advocates were keeping a close eye on what the administration would do with this new program, wondering how much Trump’s team would value this step towards diversity in the classroom. This week the cuts sent a signal to many that although Education Secretary Betsy Devos had publicly praised an integrated classroom, her actions would not match her words. Tanya Clay House, a former Education Department official who helped to design the new program, called the cut a “slap in the face.” Highlighting that the money for the grants was already allocated in the 2016 fiscal cycle she questioned, “why not use it?” Advocates fear that the program’s cancellation sends a message to districts interested in integration that they’re facing the journey alone. LEARN MORE
- Chiefs for Change – An education reform nonprofit aimed at facilitating change through policy and advocacy, building a unique community of practice, and cultivating a pipeline of diverse education leaders.
- Poverty and Race Research Action Council –The Council is a civil rights policy organization aimed at helping to connect advocates with social scientists working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues.
- The National Coalition on School Diversity – The Coalition is a network of national civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions working to increase support for government initiatives that promote diversity in schools.
This brief was compiled by Cindy Stansbury. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.