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Some school districts across the nation are rediscovering the benefits of classroom diversity. A recent Century Foundation report tracks the increase and encourages its acceleration, the Huffington Post reports.

Supreme Court rulings and public opposition to mandated racial integration largely ended classroom diversity. But in recent years, a growing number of school districts have bypassed those legal and societal obstacles by integrating students based on their socioeconomic background instead of their race, according to the Post.

Per the Huffington Post:

Socioeconomic integration is less politically fraught than racial integration because it is often pursued voluntarily, says the report. In a number of socioeconomically integrated districts, parents can opt to send their children to intentionally integrated schools via school choice programs. Other districts have integrated by tweaking attendance zone boundaries.

Diversity offers a range of benefits to students. The Century Foundation report underscores a large body of evidence that says racially diverse classrooms narrow the academic achievement gap and offers social benefits. The Huffington Post points to a North Carolina case study in which students of color from low-income families improved their math and reading test scores when integrated with White students from wealthier backgrounds.

School districts that want to achieve greater socioeconomic diversity may soon get some help from the federal government. President Barack Obama included a $120 million competitive grant program in his proposed 2017 budget.

The Stronger Together initiative seeks to help districts solve the “sticky issue” of socioeconomic integration, according to Education Week. This proposed funding for five-year projects could be spent on developing and implementing integration plans.

SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty  


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