Monday, December 05, 2011

Obama Issues New 'Diversity Guidelines' for Schools

(Washington) Released after working hours Friday, the new guidelines include creative affirmative action measures.
The Obama administration has released new guidelines aimed at encouraging school districts and colleges to keep and pursue policies that promote racial diversity. In the process, they withdrew directives put forward during the administration of George W. Bush.

“Diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills, dismantle stereotypes, and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world,” U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said in a statement Friday. “The guidance announced today will aid educational institutions in their efforts to provide true equality of opportunity.

“Racial isolation ... denies our children the experiences they need to succeed in a global economy, where employers, coworkers, and customers will be increasingly diverse,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

The new guidelines are more detailed than the ones they replaced and seek to reverse what officials characterized as a chilling effect on diversity programs based on cautious interpretations of Supreme Court rulings on integration efforts.

The new rules even opened the door, in narrow circumstances, for race-based preferences, commonly known as affirmative action. The guidelines encourage the use of programs that are technically race neutral but informed by race, such as giving school admission preferences to students from a certain ZIP Code. Some school districts have used geography as a stand-in for race.
The new federal guidance was issued jointly by the Justice Department and the Education Department.

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