There was an article in the Washington Post Friday about the Trump administration ending an Obama-era grant program that would encourage local districts to devise ways to increase “diversity” in their schools. The administration was at pains to say that this was about the wise use of tax dollars, and says nothing about the administration’s interest in diversity. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was even quoted as saying that she believes socioeconomic and racial diversity is “a real benefit in schools.”
The educational benefits of racial diversity in public schools — learning more and better because the kid sitting next to you has this color rather than that color — is disputed, and of course the question is whether those disputed and marginal benefits justify local governments classifying and differentiating among children on the basis of race in order to achieve politically correct bean-counting results, and whether the federal government of all things ought to be encouraging local schools to engage in such race-based decision-making. The answer is no, and it is doubtful that the Education Department has constitutional or even statutory authority to do so.
So, to the extent that the program involved racial diversity-mongering, I’m glad that the program is being ended, but unhappy that the Trump administration is so defensive about it. It shouldn’t be.