Department of Education Issues New Racial Guidelines

The Obama administration released new guidelines Friday explaining how educational institutions can lawfully use racial policies to boost diversity and reduce what Education Secretary Arne Duncan called "racial isolation."

The Justice and Education departments detailed what kind of steps schools can take to boost increase diversity within the confines of the law.

For example, the guidance for elementary and secondary schools discusses how school district boundaries can be drawn to increase diversity in a lawful way.

“Racial isolation remains far too common in America’s classrooms today and it is increasing,” Duncan said in a statement. “This denies our children the experiences they need to succeed in a global economy, where employers, co-workers and customers will be increasingly diverse. It also breeds educational inequity, which is inconsistent with America’s core values.”

The new guidances – one for elementary and secondary schools and another for post-secondary institutions – have no force in law, and are instead meant to act as a framework to understanding what’s allowed.

The documents are meant as a statement of the Obama administration’s view of three key Supreme Court rulings on the use of race by educational institutions: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger.

The new administration documents replace Bush administration guidances released in 2008.



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