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Good Intentions, Limited Impact: The Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plans Program
by Kathryn McDermott, Elizabeth DeBray, Erica Frankenberg, Anna Fung-Morley, and Anne Blankenship

In 2009, the federal government created a small, one-time competitive grant called the Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plan (TASAP) grant.

According to a new research report on the TASAP grant program,"Federal management of the grant did not provide leverage on districts to ensure that the local work remained true to its initial goals...and did not insist that diversity remain a priority." The authors found that "[d]istricts that had expressed a commitment to diversity in their TASAP applications could not necessarily sustain those commitments in the face of competition with other local interests and needs."

The report offers six recommendations for future diversity funding: 1) construct a more deliberate theory of change; 2) solicit grant proposals for a longer period of time; 3) include inter-district approaches to diversity; 4) provide sufficient federal involvement and guidance to support project implementation at the local level, and increase accountability for federal program goals; 5) build on local capacity; and 6) situate diversity as central to educational improvement to increase the relevance of diversity programs.
Socioeconomic diversity priority to be added to DOE competitive grant programs

In last week's Federal Register, the Department of Education proposed a set of revised funding priorities, including a revision that would add socioeconomic diversity as a priority (in addition to race/ethnicity diversity). Several NCSD members are drafting formal comments to the Department. Last Thursday, the Poverty & Race Research Action Council also offered its initial reaction:


"We welcome this development insofar as it signals that the Department will now begin utilizing the diversity priority in all of its K-12 grant programs. However, we are concerned that it could represent a retreat from the Department's stated commitment to racial diversity--and we will be watching how this plays out in the next round of funding notices. Economic diversity is related to and complementary to racial integration in schools, but the two goals are not interchangeable."


Background: In 2010, the Department of Education approved a series of funding priorities that could be included as incentives or threshold requirements in its competitive grant programs--including a priority for promoting racial and ethnic diversity in schools. However, since the priority was approved, it has not appeared in most competitive grant funding notices, with the exception of the charter school notices, where it has been a fairly weak incentive, as compared to program incentives to maximize the number of low income children.

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Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Says No to RTTT Equity and Opportunity

The President's FY 2015 Budget request included several proposed programs that more explicitly support school diversity, including a new "Race to the Top: Equity and Opportunity" competition. Despite outreach from the civil rights community, Senate Democrats in the Appropriations subcommittee declined to fund the President's new Race to the Top proposal in early June, making the funding and implementation of this program very unlikely.
Suburban Promise of Brown Symposium: Sustaining Racially Diverse Schools at South Side High School
Sustaining Racially Diverse Schools at South Side High School
Oct. 2-4, 2014
Miami, FL
The Brown Imperative: Excellence, Equity, and Unity 60 Years Later and Into the Future
National School Boards Association, Council of Urban Boards of Education
Oct. 23, 2014
Washington, DC
Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research, featuring James D. Anderson. Hosted by the American Educational Research Association.
Oct. 29-Nov. 2
Toronto, Canada
Reconceptualizing Diversity: Engaging with Histories, Theories, Practices, and Discursive Strategies in Global Contexts
Joint conference of the American Education Studies Association and the International Association of Intercultural Education

Nov. 12-15, 2014
San Diego, CA

The Resegregation of Education in America
The Education Law Center
Dec. 4-6, 2014
Indianapolis, IN
Pit Stops and Victory Laps: Going The Distance, Driving Change, Leading the Race Toward Equity and Excellence
National Association of Independent Schools: People of Color Conference


"Unless we relearn how residential segregation is de jure--racially motivated public policy--we can't remedy school segregation that flows from neighborhood isolation."

- Richard Rothstein


June 2014

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About NCSD
The National Coalition on School Diversity is a network of national civil rights organizations, university-based research institutes, local educational advocacy groups, and academic researchers seeking a greater commitment to racial and socioeconomic diversity in federal K-12 education policy and funding. We also support the work of state and local school diversity practitioners.
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NCSD's Integration Research Network helps increase communication between education researchers, policymakers, and advocates. If you are an educational researcher and are interested in learning more about this developing community of researchers, please email us or visit our website
 NCSD Member Organizations 
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Poverty & Race Research Action Council
  • Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School
  • Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA
  • Teaching Tolerance
  • Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College
  • University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights
  • Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University
  • Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley
  • Education Law Center
  • Magnet Schools of America
  • Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at UC Berkeley School of Law
  • Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School
  • New York Appleseed
  • Sheff Movement coalition
  • One Nation Indivisible
  • Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation
  • ERASE Racism
  • Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Empire Justice Center

Organizational membership in the NCSD is free and open to national, regional, and local organizations that are working to support racial and economic integration in public schools. Member groups will be listed on the NCSD website, and will be asked to help publicize NCSD publications and events, and to support NCSD advocacy efforts, as appropriate, at the U.S. Department of Education, in state governments, and in Congress. NCSD policy decisions are made by an established steering committee of national civil rights organizations and several academic advisers.


To inquire about becoming an NCSD member organization, email us


National Coalition on School

c/o Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)


Email: [email protected] 

Phone: 202-544-5066 

Mailing Address: 1200 18th St. NW #200 Washington, DC 20036