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Seeing Past the “Colorblind” Myth of Education Policy

This policy brief presents the most significant evidence-based critique of ostensibly “colorblind” education policies by highlighting their relationship to past and present racial/ethnic inequality and their failure to address the rapidly changing demographics of our school-age population, which could be considered an asset if we were not “blind” to it. The author argues that even when education policies are “colorblind” on the surface, they interact with school systems and residential patterns in which race is a central factor in deciding where students go to school, what resources and curricula they have access to, whether they are understood and appreciated by their teachers and classmates, and how they are categorized across academic programs. Such policies are also at odds with a multi-racial and ethnic society in which a growing number of parents and educators see the potential educational benefits of paying attention to diversity and difference as a pedagogical tool. 

The author recommends that policymakers address race-conscious policies, practices and conditions that perpetuate segregation and inequality while simultaneously tapping into the changing racial attitudes of Americans by supporting racially diverse schools.