Achieving Education Excellence for All: A Guide to Diversity-Related Policy Strategies for School Districts

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
School Law Resources

A Guide to Diversity-Related Policy Strategies for School Districts

A joint publication of NSBA, The College Board, and EducationCounsel, LLC

Written by Arthur L. Coleman, Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. and Katherine E. Lipper With a foreword by former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley 

The importance of student diversity in our schools has never been greater than during the opening of the new millennium.  In today’s digital age, connections between nations, corporations, and individuals are measured in micro-seconds, quickened by smart phones and text messages.  And, just as the speed of developing technology accelerates the speed of our communications, so does it decrease the virtual distances between us.   

In this dynamic environment, the need to appreciate and navigate the ever increasing diversity of our nation and the world is an essential part of the education of our students.  Global business and homegrown firms alike demand workers that can relate to, understand, and engage people from all walks of life and from diverse backgrounds.  Colleges and universities aim to form yearly classes of students with sufficient diversity capital.  And the challenges of maintaining a democratic society require an appreciation for our inherent plurality.

And yet, despite the rapidly changing pace of our new global society, a longstanding need remains for schools to carry the promise of Brown v. Board of Education into the new millennium—to translate our 20th century vision of equality and fairness into a workable plan that lifts the academic achievement of all students in the 21st century.  While our society has become increasingly diverse, too many of our communities are becoming increasingly segregated.  Voluntary migration patterns and economic segregation have replaced legally imposed divisions.

In this post-integration society, school board members, educators, and their local partners can play a significant role in leading their communities toward the development of district-specific student diversity policies that advance educational achievement for all students—and that do so in different, multifaceted ways. We are therefore, pleased that so many national organizations who care about education have joined us as partners in this guide. This publication is one way of informing that necessary work.  Our hope is that local leaders at all levels of the school community, from school board members to educators, to superintendents and parents, use this resource to move the conversation forward about the importance of diversity as a means for achieving educational goals, and that they do so in a way that is not only legally sound, but also reflects the best values of the communities they serve.

Anne L. Bryant
Executive Director, National School Boards Association

Gaston Caperton
President, The College Board 

Participating Organizations

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