Scott, Conyers Introduce Bill to Address Racial Inequities in Public Education
WASHINGTON – TODAY, Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) introduced the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (EIEA). This legislation would empower parents and communities to address – through robust enforcement – racial inequities, including inequities in access to educational resources, in public education.
Today marks the 63rd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case, which struck down lawful school segregation and affirmed that education was a right that “must be made available to all on equal terms.” Last year on the anniversary of Brown, Ranking Members Scott and Conyers unveiled the findings of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that our nation’s schools are, in fact, re-segregating by race and class
“On this anniversary of Brown, we are reminded that we have a long way to go to achieve educational equity for all students,” said Ranking Member Scott. “Last year’s GAO report confirmed that increasing segregation along the lines of race and poverty continue to be a driver for inequities in education. The Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act provides parents and communities with the tools necessary to ensure all children have a chance to succeed, and moves us one step closer to fulfilling the promise of Brown.”
“Though the Nation can celebrate the progress made over the course of the last 63 years after the Brown v. Board decision, we should acknowledge the long path ahead of us in the battle toward equal education,” said Ranking Member Conyers. “Last year’s GAO report confirmed our fears -- that many of our schools are re-segregating at alarming rates. On this landmark occasion, I’m proud to join Rep. Scott in introducing the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, legislation that will help us on our path to providing equal educational opportunities for all students.”
In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, a decade after the Brown decision. Title VI of the Act mandates that federal dollars cannot subsidize or support programs or activities that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The EIEA would:
- restore a private right of action to file disparate impact claims under Title VI;
- create Title VI monitors to ensure that every school has at least one employee to specifically carry out the responsibilities of the law; and
- create an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Education to coordinate and promote Title VI enforcement of equity and inclusion in education.
Earlier today, a companion bill - the Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2017 - was introduced to support new investments in school infrastructure to help level the playing field for students in under-resourced communities.
Organizations supporting the EIEA: NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF), Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Advancement Project, NAACP, and Teach Plus.
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