Our schools exist because inequality exists in our public education system. And our schools exist to make real the promise of not just equal education, but equal opportunity. While inequity and disparate outcomes often disproportionately impact students of color or students from low-income backgrounds, all of us in our country suffer the consequences.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action policies that consider race and racial diversity in college admissions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This devastating decision ends more than 50 years of affirmative action in the United States of America, but we refuse to allow our children to suffer the consequences.
Affirmative action in college admissions has played a crucial role in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in educational institutions, opening doors of opportunity for historically marginalized groups. Its measures have been an attempt to acknowledge and dismantle the decades-old systemic barriers that have hindered access to higher education and economic opportunity for communities of color for generations.
Extensive evidence consistently demonstrates that diverse racial and socioeconomic environments actively cultivate superior ideas, enhance critical thinking, and nurture empathy. We are concerned that this decision will inadvertently lead to homogeneity in our nation’s top colleges and universities, consequently stifling vibrant discourse, exchange of perspectives, and the cultivation of innovative ideas that flourish within diverse communities.
Yesterday’s ruling galvanizes all of us who believe in equal opportunity and access to education in this country. As educators dedicated to equity, we know that ALL students benefit from being members of a diverse school community that welcomes and cultivates a variety of perspectives, knowledge, and interests. We now must cherish, foster, and advocate for these values more than ever before.
Together, we are recommitting to answer the call and challenge that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson shared in her dissent. She charged “all of us to stare at racial disparity unblinkingly, and then do what evidence and experts tell us is required to level the playing field and march forward together, collectively striving to achieve true equality for all Americans.”
Over the next few months we will work together, and in dialogue and partnership with colleges, to do more than adapt to the new legal context; we will co-develop strategies to maximize access and diversity in admissions and to level the playing field.
The power of our voice comes from our collective strength, and from the voices of the communities and children we educate. We hope you raise your voices with us in this critically important work and advocacy. We will certainly be teaching our children to do the same.
Natasha Trivers, CEO
Democracy Prep Public Schools
Recy B. Dunn, CEO
Ascend Public Charter Schools
Leslie- Bernard Joseph, CEO
Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter Schools
Lisa Margosian, Interim CEO
Achievement First Public Charter Schools
Richard Berlin and Eve Colavito, Co-CEOs
DREAM Charter Schools
Marsha Gadsden, Executive Director
PAVE Academy Charter School
Janelle Bradshaw, CEO
Public Prep Network
Tresha Ward, CEO
Sonia C. Park, Executive Director
Diverse Charter Schools Coalition
Jacquelyn Martell, Executive Director
Education Reform Now NY
Alicia Johnson, CEO
KIPP NYC Public Charter Schools