U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., cited persistent race-based socioeconomic disparities as the root of his newly introduced Strength in Diversity Act, legislation that would allocate $120 million in grants to create voluntary community-driven strategies and strengthen existing endeavors designed to increase diversity in schools.
The legislation would designate that grant funding be used for projects developing evidence-based plans to address social and economic disparities based on race, establishing public school choice zones, revising school boundaries and bussing services, creating or expanding programs to attract students from outside a local area, and putting more emphasis on recruiting and training new teachers to support specialized schools. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, and the bill has the support of organizations including the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers and National Urban League; Murphy’s Connecticut colleague Richard Blumenthal is a co-sponsor of the Senate bill.
“Racial and economic isolation exists throughout the country, and Connecticut is no different,” said Murphy. “This hurts all students, but especially students of color or in low-income communities. Congress needs to step up and do what we can to make sure school districts have the necessary tools to increase diversity in schools, which we know will help close the achievement gap.”