Trump administration rescinds school diversity guidelines

SEATTLE — The Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance that encourages schools and colleges to promote diversity by taking race into account.

That guidance gave schools and colleges guidelines encouraging diversity using the narrowly tailored affirmative action still allowed by U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Sharonne Navas of the Equity in Education Coalition led protests against education secretary Betsy DeVos when she appeared at Bellevue earlier this year.

“The reality is that race is a huge indicator, a huge part of our lives. I am a Latina woman and I can't step away from being Latina and being a woman."

She says educational policy needs to take historical racism into account

“We've had a huge history of Jim Crow laws of separate but equal laws and it has been devastating. So, if we're going to end racism we need to start looking at each and every person's racial fabric because it is who we are.”

For almost 20 years, Initiative 200 has prohibited affirmative action in colleges and schools in Washington state. Last year, the Latino population of Washington state was 14 percent, but just 8 percent were UW students. The African-American population was 4 percent, black enrollment at UW was 3 percent.

“Creating a mechanism in government that discriminates among students based on race is not illegal in our state, but is also wrong in the way that it treats students,” said Paul Guppy, Vice President of the Washington Policy Center.

He supports the Trump administration move. “The government exercising discrimination among citizens doesn't solve past historic discrimination."

"Even by the government? KIRO 7's Essex Porter asked Guppy.

"Yes, exactly. So, if school districts are discriminating based on race today that just perpetuates a problem that we've have in the past.”

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