WATCH: Levin Speaks Out Against Metro Detroit School Segregation

September 15, 2020
Press Release
“Today, the school system at the center of Milliken v. Bradley—Detroit’s—is more segregated than it was in 1974.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), Vice Chair of the House Education & Labor Committee delivered remarks from the House Floor in strong support of the Strength in Diversity Act slated for a vote later today, highlighting the inequities that exist in his congressional district comprised of the suburbs immediately surrounding the majority Black city of Detroit.

Watch Rep. Levin’s remarks here or read excepts below:

 

Andy Levin Floor Speech Strength in Diversity Act

 

“Nearly 20 years after Brown v. Board of Education, lesser-known Supreme Court cases like Milliken v. Bradley determined that segregation was allowed if not considered an explicit policy of each school district,” said Rep. Levin. “This meant schools and communities were not held responsible for desegregation. Busing policies meant to integrate suburban schools were abandoned and the inequality created by racist redlining and exclusionary housing policies continued, keeping Black Americans out of the suburbs and trapped in underfunded schools to this day.”

“Today, the school system at the center of Milliken v. Bradley—Detroit’s—is more segregated than it was in 1974,” Rep. Levin continued.

“Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first Black justice, warned in his dissent in Milliken v. Bradley, and I quote, ‘unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together and understand each other,’” Rep. Levin concluded. “As we reckon with our nation’s past and work to dismantle racist institutions that have stood for far too long, let us not forget our children.”

The Strength in Diversity Act is an essential step towards fulfilling the promise of Brown vs. Board and ending the segregation that continues to plague school districts across the country, including in Michigan’s 9th District. The bill:

  • Establishes a grant program that provides federal funding to support voluntary local efforts to increase diversity in schools. Grants could fund a range of proposals, including (but not limited to):
    • Studying segregation, evaluating current policies, and developing evidence-based plans to address socioeconomic and racial isolation.
    • Establishing public school choice zones, revising school boundaries, or expanding equitable access to transportation for students. 
    • Creating or expanding innovative school programs that can attract students from outside the local area.
    • Recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers to support specialized schools.
  • Supports the development and maintenance of best practices for grantees and experts in the field of school diversity. 
  • Grant funding would be available to school districts, independently or in collaboration with neighboring districts, as well as regional educational authorities and educational service agencies.

The Strength in Diversity Act is endorsed by: American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD); Center on Law, Inequality, and Metropolitan Equity – Rutgers Law School; Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice – Harvard Law School; Integrate NYC4me; Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Legal Defense Fund, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP-LDF); The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Magnet Schools of America; National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP); National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP); National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD); National Education Association (NEA); National Women’s Law Center (NWLC); New York Appleseed; the Office of Transformation and Innovation at the Dallas Independent School District; Poverty & Race Research Action Council; The School Superintendents Association (AASA); Unidos; and the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation.

 

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