August 8, 2018

Whitehouse, Senate Democrats Condemn Trump Administration for Rescinding Civil Rights Guidance Promoting Diversity in Education

Attorney General Sessions and Secretary of Education DeVos rescinded guidance last month that clarified to schools how to promote diversity and open doors of opportunity for underrepresented students

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with 20 other Senate Democrats, in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos condemning their decision last month to rescind civil rights guidance promoting diversity in education.

“With almost daily attacks from your Administration on the protections for immigrants, women, children, people of color, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault, and LGBTQ students, it is clear there is a coordinated and systematic effort to undermine the law, divide communities, and destabilize American values at every level and in every community,” wrote the Senators. 

From 2011 through 2016, the Obama Administration issued seven separate documents to provide meaningful guidance on how school districts and colleges can promote diversity and comply with the law.  The Senators voiced concern that rescinding this guidance will create confusion for schools and make it more difficult for students and communities that have previously been underrepresented to seek opportunity through education.  The Supreme Court has clearly stated that diversity is a compelling government interest that permits race-conscious admission. 

“It is in our national interest that talented students from all backgrounds get a fair chance to overcome obstacles to higher education and learn in a diverse environment, two necessities in today’s economy,” continued the Senators.  “In addition, the benefits of racial and socioeconomic integration in K-12 schools are clear: students in integrated schools achieve at higher levels, are more likely to enroll in college, and are less at risk of developing discriminatory attitudes and prejudices.”



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