Little evidence of benefits of racial and ethnic diversity in elementary and secondary education
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights:
Less than one week before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument in two significant cases involving the use of racial benefits to reduce minority isolation in elementary and secondary education, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today issued an important briefing report on The Benefits of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Elementary and Secondary Education. The report finds that social science studies provide scant proof of the benefits for racial and ethnic groups attributed to diversity in elementary and secondary education.
Specifically, the Commission finds that “there is little evidence that racial and ethnic diversity in elementary and secondary schools results in significant improvements in academic performance; studies on the effect of school racial composition on academic achievement often suggest modest and inconsistent benefits.” Similarly, the Commission notes that “studies of whether racial and ethnic diversity result in significant social and non-educational benefits report varied results.”
Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds commented that “the academic literature really provides little or no support for the view that racial preferences in student assignment serve any compelling interest. In my view, the evidence, suggests that these preferences do not provide significant academic benefits to minority children that would compensate for the moral costs of government’s use of racial classifications.”
Back to the Supreme Court: racial balance in schools
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