U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. may not have gotten Congress to go along with “Stronger Together,” his $120 million grant proposal to help school districts try out integration programs. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to leave office without laying some kind of groundwork on the issue.
The department Tuesday announced a new $12 million grant competition that would give up to 20 school districts the opportunity to craft new roadmaps for increasing student diversity and get started on those plans. Districts could use the money to get ideas from their communities on the best ways to bolster school integration, do a data analysis of where they currently stand on integration, and more.
Rural districts, and districts that want to try out interdistrict diversity plans are especially encouraged to apply and will get priority consideration. Districts must have at least one school that’s eligible for a school improvement grant program in order to apply.
Applications are due Feb. 13, 2017, well after King leaves office. And the department plans to announce the winners sometime in the spring.
It’s unclear, of course, if and how the incoming Trump administration will decide to follow through with this grant program. If there’s a ton of interest from the field, it might be hard to deny districts the chance to follow through on their visions.