Biden praises diversity of American education while GOP works to defund it - TAI News
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President Joe Biden speaks to graduating students at the Morehouse College commencement Sunday, May 19, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Joe Biden praised ongoing efforts to increase diversity in education in a May 17 speech marking the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that desegregated American schools.

Biden spoke at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

“After Brown v. Board decision, the public schools gradually and often much too slowly were integrated.  Graduation rates for Black and Latino students increased significantly, though. The Brown decision proves a simple idea. We learn better when we learn together,” Biden said.

On that same day, the administration announced that Biden has approved more than $16 billion in funding for historically Black colleges and universities, the largest investment by any administration in these institutions.

Nearly $4 billion in spending for HBCUs came from the 2021 American Rescue Plan, which passed Congress with only Democratic support. The legislation was opposed by all of the Republicans in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, led by Sen. Ron Johnson.

In the last few years, Republican leaders at both the state level and the federal level have opposed diversity programs.

According to the Associated Press, so far this year there have been some 50 bills proposed by Republicans seeking to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in 20 states.

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court, whose members were nominated by Republican presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump, outlawed affirmative action in college admissions.

In March, congressional Republicans proposed legislation that would prevent the federal government from providing financial assistance to graduate medical schools if those schools adopted diversity policies. Among the co-sponsors of the bill, labeled the Embracing Anti-Discrimination, Unbiased Curriculum, and Advancing Truth in Education (EDUCATE) Act, are three of the five Republicans in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation: Reps. Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, and Derrick Van Orden.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The nonprofit Association of American Medical Colleges, which represents medical schools and teaching hospitals, has said it opposes the bill.

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has repeatedly expressed his opposition to diversity policies and used racist rhetoric.

In 2020, Trump signed an executive order that prohibited federal contractors from engaging in training related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The order said that those ideas were divisive and harmful.

The order was issued at the same time that thousands across America and the world were protesting racial injustice, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

Biden reversed the order on the first day of his presidency in January 2021 with an executive order of his own.

In the order, Biden said, “Equal opportunity is the bedrock of American democracy, and our diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths.”

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