PRRAC Update  

May 1, 2015    



School integration in pre-KRead our new report, with the Century Foundation, A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education, by Jeanne L. Reid and Sharon Lynn Kagan, along with Michael Hilton and Halley Potter.  "Over the past decade, public investments in early childhood education have increased; however, largely missing from early childhood policy discussions is consideration of classroom diversity and how it affects the equity, quality, and sustainability of preschool programs. Studies have shown that socioeconomically and racially diverse preschool classrooms offer important cognitive and social benefits for children, but few children enrolled in public preschool programs have access to these types of classrooms."  See the full report here, and a good story in Wednesday's Washington Post here.   


HUD's 50th Anniversary:  PRRAC is contributing to HUD's anniversary commemoration with a reflection on the agency's relationship with civil rights advocates, who have brought important civil rights litigation against the agency and its grantees.  These lawsuits have helped HUD define its own civil rights legacy, and have often prompted HUD to enforce its own fair housing obligations more effectively.  Read our new timeline,Fifty Years of "The People v. HUD": A HUD 50th Anniversary Timeline of Significant Civil Rights Lawsuits and HUD Fair Housing Advances (for best printing, print in "landscape" mode).  We hope our HUD civil rights timeline will serve as a complement to HUD's official version, recently posted here...





The events of the past week reminded us of an observation made by the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal in 1944, in his landmark work, An American Dilemma:


"Housing segregation necessarily involves discrimination...[it] permits any prejudice on the part of public officials to be freely vented on Negroes without hurting whites."


We also appreciate this statement by the Maryland ACLU (one of the groups that has been working to address the root causes of racial disparities in the region), issued this past Tuesday in the midst of the crisis:


"As every wisdom tradition recognizes, violence begets more violence. We as an organization stand for interrupting that cycle of violence. The tragic destruction and violence that Baltimore suffered yesterday is of a piece with the violence that people in Black communities in Baltimore have experienced daily in their interactions with police. We also know that other systemic forms of violence - in the form of discriminatory housing and education policies - have been perpetrated against the same communities in Baltimore for decades. (read more)


PRRAC is proud to work alongside the Maryland ACLU in an ongoing effort to reform the state's Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, and also by serving along with ACLU staff on the board of the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, which is administering the regional housing mobility remedy in the landmark public housing desegregation case, Thompson v. HUD.

Finally, before policymakers develop proposals to address segregation and neighborhood disinvestment in Baltimore, we recommend reading this 2013 report from Stefanie Deluca and Peter Rosenblatt, describing the outcomes of major investments to uplift the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood (home of the late Freddie Gray) in the 1980s and 90s:  Sandtown-Winchester-Baltimore's Daring Experiment In Urban Renewal: 20 Years Later, What Are the Lessons Learned?



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