The world that we’re preparing our kids for is diverse—our workplaces and our society reflect an enormous range of backgrounds and experiences. Succeeding in that world requires having had the experience of diversity in its many forms, particularly socioeconomic diversity. Mounting evidence shows that diversity is a clear path to better outcomes in school and in life. Exposure to other students from a wide array of backgrounds can boost empathy, reduce bias and increase group problem-solving skills. In short, it helps prepare students – regardless of their backgrounds – for the world in which they will live and work.
Socioeconomically diverse schools are especially powerful for students from low-income families, who historically have not had equal access to the resources they need to succeed. For example, in Montgomery County, Maryland, children in public housing who attended the district’s most advantaged elementary schools performed better over time than those attending higher-poverty schools, despite additional per-student funding provided at higher-poverty schools.
Given what we know about the benefits of diversity, we are interested in exploring how the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program can be used to promote voluntary, community-supported efforts to expand socioeconomic diversity in schools and improve student outcomes. These grants are awarded to states that then make competitive subgrants to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to raising student achievement in their lowest-performing schools.
Join the conversation
We welcome your input on how we can support school districts or consortia of districts, with support from their states and local communities, to use SIG funds to implement socioeconomic diversity strategies.
We are interested in your thoughts on the use of SIG funds, including your views on the following:
- The use of SIG funds to support district-wide socioeconomic diversity strategies aimed at increasing academic outcomes for students in lowest performing schools.
- Current SIG requirements for states and districts that may restrict the use SIG funds to increase the socioeconomic diversity of schools, if any.
- Other policies or conditions (e.g., high concentrations of students in poverty, strong community and stakeholder engagement, written assurances from effected districts and schools) that need to be in place for districts to successfully implement a comprehensive socioeconomic diversity plan that increase academic outcomes for students in its lowest performing schools.
- Methods and measures states and districts could use to demonstrate progress in implementing a comprehensive socioeconomic diversity plan.
We welcome your input until April 26. If you have any comments please send them via email to SIG.StrongerTogether@ed.gov.