PRRAC Update  

June 18, 2015    


Continuing progress on school diversity:  The Department of Education issued final guidelines and funding invitation(s) for state charter school grants this week that included priority points for school diversity.  While the point totals were more modest than we would have liked, these steps represent an increasing emphasis on school integration at the Department.   


In the meantime, the Department of Health and Human Services has just announced a major overhaul of its Head Start Program Performance Standards - which include for the first time provisions to encourage socioeconomic integration of children participating in Head Start (e.g. "We also propose revisions throughout this subpart to better support the ability of programs to serve children from diverse economic backgrounds, given research that suggests children's early learning is positively influenced by interactions with diverse peers") (!).  The proposed rules will appear in tomorrow's Federal Register.  We'll report in more detail on these new regulations next week. See also the recent PRRAC/Century Foundation report on diversity in early education. 


LIHTC and Ferguson:  PRRAC joined the Lawyers Committee and the St. Louis based Equal Housing Opportunity Center in a comment letter to the Missouri Housing Finance Commission responding to the draft Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) plan for the state of Missouri. The state's past administration of the LIHTC program has led to a pattern of segregation of tax credit properties in North St. Louis and North St. Louis County.  


Other news and resources


Kudos for Mayor Bill de Blasio who this week signed the School Diversity Accountability Act, an important step forward for increased diversity in New York City public schools. Congratulations to the Mayor and to Councilman Brad Lander.  Watch the signing ceremony here (at 28:30) (and also watch at 18:00 for the Mayor and Steve Banks' announcement of an ambitious "Civil Gideon" project for New York City)  


"They're Our Neighborhoods Too":  A new study from the Anti-Discrimination Center (ADC), based on field interviews with over 600 African American and Latino New Yorkers "demonstrates that the idea that everyone is only interested in staying in place is profoundly false. It's not just that some people would consider moving a few blocks.  69.2 percent of interviewees said "yes" to considering affordable housing opportunities in a BOROUGH other than the one in which they were currently living.  60.5 percent of interviewees said 'yes' to considering affordable housing opportunities in at least one SUBURB outside of New York City.  This willingness existed among all income groups, including those from the many interviewees with household incomes of less than $30,000 a year."   


Big victory for inclusionary zoning in California:  Congratulations to the City of San Jose and the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County for their important victory in California Building Industry v. City of San Jose, and thanks to Tim Iglesias of UCSF Law School, who pulled together a terrific amicus brief on behalf of housing organizations and scholars (PRRAC also joined the brief).  See a good summary of the decision here.   


A key outcome of school segregation:  On Monday, The Leadership Conference Education Fund - along with Education Law Center (ELC) - released "Cheating our Future: How Decades of Disinvestment by States Continues to Jeopardize Equal Education Opportunity," its new report detailing the enormous resource disparities in public schools nationwide.  


"Historical Shift from Explicit to Implicit Policies Affecting Housing Segregation in Eastern Massachusetts" - An excellent web-based history lesson from the Boston Fair Housing Center on the history of housing segregation in Eastern Massachusetts.


Building One America National Policy Summit - 23-24 - register here



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