Metro Nashville Public Schools has closed its office of Diversity and Equity.
The decision came as a result of the district’s budget problems, officials say, despite the fact that almost half of Metro’s students are not attending diverse schools.
A Metro Schools spokeswoman tells WPLN the office was shuttered last year when its director’s position was eliminated and its two additional employees were absorbed into other departments. The office had grown out of a 2012 directive by the school board to better document “some of the progress, and some of the challenges that still remain in pursuit of Equity.”
One of its most critical tasks was putting together an annual report on the state of diversity in Metro Schools. Responsibilities included covering the racial and economic breakdown of every school in the district and its staff — from teachers to custodians to lunchroom attendants.
Its most recent — and what could be its last — report for the 2018-2019 school year, shows that only 45% of district schools meet the definition of “diverse,” the same as it was four years before. Meanwhile, the number of diverse charter schools has gone up, from 45% to 54%.
A spokeswoman for MNPS says the district still employs two equity and diversity coaches, but their focus is on professional development and coaching schools around issues of diversity rather than broader desegregation strategies.