Dozens of School Districts Applied to An Obama-Era Integration Program Before Trump Officials Axed It. Since Then, Many Plans Have Gone Nowhere.
When Austin school officials applied for a $1.5 million federal grant to embark on a school integration initiative, they were blunt.
The city and school district had a long history of intentionally segregating black and Latino families and students, they said, and recent attempts to desegregate schools had failed.
District officials said they’d create an integration plan for around two dozen schools in east and northeast Austin, where the student population is mostly Latino, black, and from low-income families, though white and more affluent families live there, too. The district promised to survey parents and residents, buy software to overhaul the enrollment process, craft a marketing campaign to promote diverse schools, and open a new office to oversee it all. The lessons learned, officials said, could then be applied across the district’s some 130 schools.
Jacob Reach, a top Austin schools official, got a call a few weeks later. The district submitted a strong application, an education department staffer told him, but the program was about to be canceled. No money was headed their way.