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ED Announces New Diversity Grant

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently announced the creation of a new grant aimed at promoting diversity in public schools.  The new $12 million grant competition will give up to 20 school districts the opportunity to craft new road maps for increasing student diversity and get started on those plans.  Districts could use the money to get ideas from their communities on the best ways to bolster school integration, conduct data analysis of where they currently stand on integration, and more.

Grantees may also seek to promote student diversity by considering additional factors beyond socioeconomic diversity, including race and ethnicity, in their efforts to diversify schools.  Grantees will use funds to, for example, engage the community on the best approaches to promote student diversity, conduct data analysis, set measurable diversity goals, and take preliminary steps toward implementation of school diversity efforts (e.g. piloting activities such as admissions lotteries or redesigned school assignment boundaries). 

In order to be eligible to apply for the new grant, known as the "Opening Doors, Expanded Opportunities" grant, districts must have at least one school that is eligible for a school improvement grant program.  ED will give priority to rural districts and districts that want to try out inter-district diversity plans.  While this new grant is a brainchild of the Obama Administration, it will not go into effect until the next administration takes over.  It’s unclear if the next President will follow through with proposed funding for the program.

Applications are due February 13, 2017.  ED hopes to announce winners sometime in the spring.  

Alyson Klein, "Ed. Dept. Announces $12 Million Grant Competition to Boost Diversity," Education Week: Politics K-12, December 13, 2016.

About the Author

Steven Spillan is an associate with the Washington, DC law firm of Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC. Established in 1980, the Firm is nationally recognized for its federal education regulatory and legislative practice, providing legal advice regarding compliance with all major federal education programs as well as the federal grants management requirements, including the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). In addition, they work with agencies on federal spending flexibility, allowability, policies and procedures, audit defense and resolution and legislative updates. The Firm provides government relations services for the National Title I Association.