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HR 2639 - Strength in Diversity Act of 2019 - National Key Vote

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Title: Strength in Diversity Act of 2019

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that requires the Department of Education to award grants to specified educational agencies to develop or implement plans to improve diversity and reduce racial or socioeconomic isolation in publicly funded early education programs, public elementary schools, and public secondary schools.

Highlights:

 

  • Authorizes the Secretary of Education to award grants to eligible entities to develop or implement plans to improve diversity and reduce or eliminate racial or socioeconomic isolation in covered schools (Sec 4).

  • Authorizes the Secretary to award the following types of grants (Sec 4):

    • Planning grants;

    • Implementation grants; or

    • Both planning and implementation grants.

  • Authorizes the Secretary to award grants under the following criteria (Sec 4):

    • The quality of the application submitted by an eligible entity;

    • The likelihood that the eligible entity will use the grant to improve student outcomes based on their performances; and

    • The likelihood that the grant will lead to a meaningful reduction in racial and economic isolation for children in covered school.

  • Requires eligible entities to submit an application to the Secretary that includes (Sec 5):

    • A description of the program for which the eligible entity is seeking a grant;

    • A description of how the eligible entity will identify and define racial isolation, income level, and socioeconomic status;

    • A description of the plan of the eligible entity for continuing the program after the grant period ends;

    • A description of how the eligible entity will assess, monitor, and evaluate the impact of the activities funded under the grant on student achievement and student enrollment diversity; 

    • An assurance that the eligible entity has conducted, or will conduct, robust parent and community engagement while planning for and implementing the program; and

    • An estimate of the number of students that the eligible entity plans to serve under the program and the number of students to be served through the additional expansion of the program after the grant period ends.

  • Requires entities that receive planning grants to use the grants to support students in covered schools through the following activities (Sec 6):

    • Completing a comprehensive assessment of:

      • The educational outcomes and racial and socioeconomic stratification of children attending covered schools;

      • An analysis of the location and capacity of program and school facilities and the adequacy of the program and local or regional transportation infrastructure; and 

      • Teacher diversity is covered by schools, and plans for expanding teacher diversity;

    • Developing and implementing a robust family, student, and community engagement plan, including public hearings or other open forums that would precede and inform the development of a formal strategy to improve diversity in covered schools;

    • Developing options for improving diversity in covered schools;

    • Building the capacity to collect and analyze data that provide information for transparency, continuous improvement, and evaluation; and

    • Developing an implementation plan to comply with a court-ordered school desegregation plan.

  • Requires each entity that receives an implementation grant to implement a high-quality plan to support students in covered schools which includes (Sec 6):

    • A comprehensive set of strategies designed to improve academic outcomes for all students;

    • Evidence of strong family and community support for such strategies, including evidence that the eligible entity has engaged in meaningful community outreach;

    • Goals to increase diversity in covered schools over the course of the grant period;

    • Collection and analysis of data to provide transparency and support continuous improvement through the grant period; and

    • A  rigorous method of evaluation of the effectiveness of the program.

  • Authorizes entities that receive implementation grants to use the grant to carry out the following activities (Sec 6):

    • Recruiting, hiring, or training additional teachers, administrators, school counselors, or other professional development activities for staff and administrators;

    • Investing in specialized academic programs;

    • Developing innovative and equitable school assignment plans;

    • Carrying out innovative activities designed to increase racial and socioeconomic school diversity and engagement between children from different racial, economic, and cultural backgrounds; and

    • Creating partnerships to develop a one-stop enrollment process for students for multiple public school options.

  • Requires the Secretary to establish performance measures for the programs and activities stated earlier which will track the progress of each eligible entity in (Sec 7):

    • Improving academic and other developmental or non-cognitive outcomes related to:

      • Increasing school readiness;

      • Increasing student achievement and decreasing achievement gaps; 

      • Increasing high school graduation rates;

      • Increasing readiness for postsecondary education and careers;

      • improving access to mental health and social-emotional learning;

      • reducing school discipline rates; and

      • any other indicator the Secretary or eligible entity may identify; and

    • Increasing diversity and decreasing racial or socioeconomic isolation in covered schools.

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