The U.S. Department of Education is awarding more than $6.5 million in grants to fund four regional Equity Assistance Centers to support schools and communities creating equitable education opportunities for all students. These centers, authorized under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, will provide technical assistance in the preparation and implementation of plans for the desegregation of public schools (including desegregation based on race, national origin, sex and religion) and in the development of effective methods for coping with special educational problems caused by desegregation. The centers will also provide resources and training to combat issues such as hate crimes, implicit bias, racial prejudice, and bullying.
“Students deserve the opportunity to learn in an environment that provides them with a fair chance to reach their true potential,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “The centers provide critical resources to districts and communities to ensure that our most vulnerable students have access to an equitable education.”
The five-year grants will provide funding for activities such as disseminating information on successful education practices and legal requirements related to nondiscrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion in educational programs; training designed to develop educators’ skills in specific areas such as identification of race and sex bias in instructional materials; technical assistance in the identification and selection of appropriate educational programs to meet the needs of limited English proficient students; dissemination of information regarding effective methods of coping with special educational problems occasioned by desegregation; and instructing school officials on how to prevent sexual harassment and combat biases.
All four centers will be run by organizations with demonstrated expertise in providing effective technical assistance on strategies to ensure equitable access to effective teachers and leaders, particularly for students from low-income families and students of color across and within schools and districts. This work is particularly important as states and districts begin their transition to implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act, a civil rights law that prioritizes closing achievement gaps and access to a high-quality education for all students.
Region I will be served by the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc., located in Bethesda, Maryland. Region I includes Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, and West Virginia.
Region II will be served by the Intercultural Development Research Association, located in San Antonio, Texas. Region II includes Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Region III will be served by Indiana University, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Region III includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Region IV will be served by Metropolitan State University of Denver, located in Denver. Region IV includes Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
One of the top priorities of the Obama Administration is to expand equity in education through stronger schools while safeguarding the right of all students to a world-class education. These grants will help strengthen the Administration’s goal of promoting diversity and equity in schools.