Center and partners submit Comment on RTT-D proposal, call for high-quality diverse schools

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The Center for Civil Rights submitted comments to the Department of Education on the proposed 2012 “Race to the Top District” (RTT-D) guidelines. The NC Justice Center, Great Schools in Wake, and the Concerned Citizens for African American Students joined the Center in calling for the Department to ensure that the proposed guidelines prioritize the development and maintenance of high-quality, racially and socioeconomically diverse public schools.

The Center’s comments highlight that the RTT-D guidelines entirely omit consideration of racial and socio-economic diversity in schools, despite compelling evidence that such diversity is a core component of a high-quality education. Read the Center's complete comments (PDF).

The Department’s RTT-D proposal emphasizes individual-focused education and improving high-needs schools without the necessary parallel of promoting diversity on a school or system-wide level. This limited approach encourages districts to concentrate students in racially identifiable low-achieving schools and programs, then apply quick-fix, post-hoc remedial resources. Instead, the Center suggests that the Department should use every eligibility and selection parameter to incentivize districts to maintain a system-wide commitment to diversity and broad-based student achievement at the district, school, and classroom level.

In addition, the Department should carefully scrutinize applications from school districts with an open desegregation order or Title VI complaint. Though these districts should not be ineligible from participating in Race to the Top, the Department should ensure that the applicants do not allocate resources in a way that further marginalizes at-risk populations or fails to address continuing racial disparities.

Finally, the Center criticizes RTT-D’s requirement that excludes districts that serve less than 2,500 students from applying individually, effectively cutting several of North Carolina’s high-minority, high-poverty districts out of consideration. While these smaller districts can apply jointly as a consortium, the onerous administrative requirement of inter-county coordination to address the unique needs of these small districts could delay or deprive resources from the state’s neediest students.

Read the draft 2012 Race to the Top District proposal.

Many thanks to our summer intern, Kevin Schroeder (3L UNC Law), for his diligent research on the Race to the Top Proposal.

Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Mon. June 11, 2012 10:39 AM
Categories: Education, Law Students, Segregation
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