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Get the Facts - Shareables
How Diversity Can Make a Difference

For years, scholars in the fields of education and civil rights have studied diversity and its effects on students. Until the Civil Rights movement, many American school districts were segregated. Over time, through hard work and research, our leaders came to realize that diversity in schools was vitally important for education and society as a whole.

Knowledge changes everything.

Study after study found that students who learn among a diverse group of classmates reap benefits, including higher scores on standardized tests, better preparation for the work place, and, importantly, becoming the global citizens that our world requires.

Knowledge changes everything. Please take a few moments to read what scholars have to say about school diversity, learn from a family why it made a school choice that values a diverse environment and consider how you can help create an educational environment where all children learn and thrive.

Five Ways Racially Diverse Schools Benefit Students

1. Improved cognitive skills, critical thinking, and problem solving

Researchers have documented that students' exposure to other students who are different from themselves and the novel ideas and challenges that such exposure brings leads to improved cognitive skills, including critical thinking and problem solving.

Source: The Century Foundation: Article by Amy Stuart Wells, Lauren Fox and Diana Cordova-Cobo

2. Increased ability to work with others from diverse cultures

Ninety-six percent of major employers say it is important that employees be "comfortable working with colleagues, customers, and/or clients from diverse cultural backgrounds."

Source: The Century Foundation: Article by Amy Stuart Wells, Lauren Fox and Diana Cordova-Cobo

3. Increase in test scores for school population

Attending racially diverse schools is beneficial to all students and is associated with smaller test score gaps between students of different racial backgrounds, not because white student achievement declined, but rather that black and/or Hispanic student achievement increased.

Source: The Century Foundation: Article by Amy Stuart Wells, Lauren Fox and Diana Cordova-Cobo

4. Wide-ranging educational success, including higher graduation rates

Students in integrated schools benefit from a higher level of parental involvement, graduate at higher rates, complete more years of education, earn higher degrees and major in more varied disciplines, gain greater access to professional jobs, and earn higher incomes, even when controlling for a number of other background characteristics.

Source: The Benefits of Racial and Economic Integration in Our Educational System: Why This Matters For Our Democracy, Ohio State, Kirwan Institute, 2/2009

5. Learning environments develops "funds of knowledge"

In their interactions with people from different backgrounds, students often learn about a range of opportunities they might otherwise have missed and are able to compare their capabilities and ambitions to others in what sociologists call "the power of loose ties." This is one of the explanations for why students of color who attend integrated schools are more likely to go on to higher education.

Students gain the opportunity to learn with and from people with different experiences and perspectives who bring to the learning environment resources that are sometimes characterized as "funds of knowledge."

Source: Dr. Willis Hawley,  Special Master overseeing Tucson Unified's Unitary Status Plan

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We are committed to integration, diversity and racial equity.

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The Power of Diversity

Tucson Unified School District prides itself on being on the cutting edge of best practices in education.  As a district with 89 schools and programs and more than 48,000 students from all walks of life, we know the importance of diversity and the benefits of learning from each other.

Our Knowledge Changes Everything initiative celebrates the power of that diversity.

When children can work with children from other cultures, all are enriched. In Tucson Unified, we have a multitude of schools that are diverse, and parents are in the driver seat for choosing which schools make the most sense for their children.

What we want to promote is this idea that even though we are different, we can come together and be stronger. We can be stronger because of all those unique characteristics that, once bound together, create unbreakable strength.

Brown v. Board of Education

Chief Justice Earl Warren, reading the unanimous decision of the Court in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case:

"We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other 'tangible' factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does... We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."