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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Devoted to Diversity: A Practical Guide for School Districts Implementing Voluntary Diversity
Ewart, Lisa Elizabeth.
REPORT 2004 EW185 Public Affairs Library.

Public schools play an important role in teaching the nation’s youth about interacting and working with students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Ironically, as “our society becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, our public schools are becoming more racially and ethnically homogeneous.” School boards want to stop this trend. They appreciate the value of diversity and want to encourage it within their schools. Many of these districts are no longer—or never were—under court supervision, and their efforts towards this laudable goal are completely voluntary. The goal of this Report is to act as a starting point for districts wishing to reap the benefits that diversity offers for their students and community. In an increasingly multi-cultural world, respect, understanding, and appreciation of individuals of all backgrounds are vital. This report highlights the importance of diversity in public elementary and secondary education and guide districts in their voluntary efforts to promote integration. It provides examples of policies that other districts in similar positions are implementing, including race-conscious, race-neutral, and school choice programs. The report also highlights several limitations that the district may face. The districts ability to promote diversity voluntarily will be constrained by the United States Constitution, practical considerations, and the extent of community support. Diversity is a worthwhile goal, and this report aims to help school districts, that are devoted to diversity, achieve it.