Ohio School Board Directs Districts to Reduce Student Racial Isolation and Promote Diversity

 

COLUMBUS, OHIO – A new policy to empower school districts to promote diversity and reduce racial isolation in Ohio schools was adopted unanimously by The State Board of Education of Ohio.

On May 15, the Board adopted the Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools Policy. The policy derived by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity’s recommendations report on Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools, was developed to evolve the 1980 Equal Educational Opportunity Policy.

The overarching goal of the Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools Policy is to promote and monitor diversity and reduce racial isolation in the state’s school districts. There are 12 specific strategies the policy directs. Some of the key policies are:

- Individual School Districts are to develop a statement on diversity
- School districts take reasonable action to improve diversity and reduce racial isolation
- Districts must report diversity impact of a potential school site or school closing
- Districts are to develop reasonable disciplinary policies and to support interventions that reduce student push-out
- Districts are encouraged to use curricula, instructional materials, and educational methodologies that support diversity and achieve the benefits of diversity.

In December 2008, the Board obtained a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation for the revision of the 1980 policy.  For more than three years the Kirwan Institute worked closely and diligently with the Ohio Department of Education personnel and their various committees including the Capacity Committee, the Urban Committee, and the Executive Committee to develop policy recommendations for the Board.

The Board has directed the Ohio State Superintendent of Education in partnership with the Kirwan Institute to take further steps to educate Ohio school districts about the newly revised Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools Policy.

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Read the Board’s adoption of the policy (starting on page 118)

Read the Kirwan Institutes recommendations report