Fordham Law Review Online

Systemic Inequality | A Call for Desegregation in Education: Examining the Strength in Diversity Act

May 19, 2021

In the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the concept of “separate but equal” education was unconstitutional.  Yet now, more than sixty-five years after this decision, school segregation is on the rise in the United States.  While school segregation is no longer enforced by the explicit prohibition of Black students and white students attending the same schools, it is instead caused by various pernicious government policies ranging from school district mapping to school funding allocations.

Historically, the federal government has remained at the outskirts of education policy as public education is held to be a state and local government responsibility.  However, in February 2021, Congressman Robert C. Scott introduced the Strength in Diversity Act of 2021, thus bringing the federal government back into the public education and policy discourse.  Among other things, this legislation would create a federal grant program to fund racial and economic school integration efforts across the country.

This Comment will first examine the proposals set forth by the Strength in Diversity Act and analyze how this legislation could push the needle forward in achieving greater integration.  This Comment will then highlight the gaps left by the Strength in Diversity Act and set forth recommendations for future amendments to the bill.