An important root of diversity in an educational context is the University of California v. Bakke (1978) decision on affirmative action in college admissions. In that historic U.S. Supreme Court case, Justice Lewis Powell opined that the use of race in admissions was constitutionally admissible because diversity provides for the “robust exchange of ideas,” an important criterion for obtaining the educational benefits of a college education. Although racial diversity specifically was at issue in the Bakke case, schools and colleges have come to view multiple individual characteristics as contributors to diversity in the learning environment. Most commonly, they include race/ethnicity, gender, social class, nationality, and sexual orientation. While race and gender have received the most attention in the development of educational policy, social class is ...

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