DFER & ERN File Amicus Brief in Support of University of Texas in Affirmative Action Case
November 3, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Democrats for Education Reform and Education Reform File Amicus Brief in Support of University of Texas in Fisher v. UT Affirmative Action Case
Education Reform Now, DFER’s affiliated think tank, and Democrats for Education Reform bring together coalition in support of admissions practices that promote diversity
Washington, DC – Yesterday, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and its affiliated think tank, Education Reform Now (ERN) brought together a group of education advocacy organizations to file an amicus brief supporting the University of Texas at Austin’s constitutional right—and responsibility—“to seek the educational benefits that flow from racial diversity.” Democrats for Education Reform and Education Reform Now, along with co-signers A+ Denver, Green Dot Public Schools, Northeast Charter School Network, and Students Matter, argued that not only do the university’s admission policies promote inter-racial diversity at the school, they also achieve vital intra-racial diversity goals. The brief was filed ahead of arguments before the US Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas. Oral arguments are scheduled for December 9, 2015.
The amici argue that intra-racial diversity—meaning that African American, Latino, and other minority students are themselves from diverse backgrounds across factors of geography, socio-economic status, ethnicity, culture, familiarity in racially integrated environments, and more—is an essential element of an ethnically and culturally diverse student body. They further argue that the university’s policy of accepting the top ten percent of each high school class is insufficient to achieve this goal, and that the incremental, targeted consideration of intra-racial diversity is necessary to achieve the kind of dynamic educational environment that will best equip students for the demands of a global, 21st century economy.
DFER and ERN’s President, Shavar Jeffries, said, “Education is the gateway to the American Dream. But far too often, systemic inequities keep educational opportunity beyond the grasp of too many of our young people. We proudly support the efforts of the University of Texas to ensure its student body represents the full diversity of our nation and our world, as it is such a learning environment that will best prepare all of our students for a flat world in which comfort with difference is essential.
“A truly diverse school benefits all. And the University of Texas understands that diversity isn’t simply numbers on a piece of paper—it’s about ensuring that our student bodies reflect the gorgeous mosaic of our country, and as such foster the cross-cultural understanding that reminds us more of our common humanity than the narrow boxes to which we all too often confine one another.”
Van Schoales, CEO of A+ Denver said, “A+ Denver strongly supports this amicus brief. Race, particularly for African-American and Hispanic youth, still plays an outsized negative impact on access to economic and social mobility. Unfortunately, a disproportionately high number of African-American and Hispanic students still attend our lowest performing schools for a variety of social, economic and historical reasons. We believe that race must be considered within an array of factors for college admission to ensure equal access for all and to better reflect our own diverse communities.”
“Diversity of ethnic and socioeconomic background among students significantly magnifies the power of an education by providing an experience that is rooted in equity and a shared cultural experience,” said Ben Austin, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Students Matter, the national non-profit behind the groundbreaking education equality lawsuit, Vergara v. California. “At Students Matter, we know that our education system must be set up to provide every student with a quality education and the opportunity to succeed, and that includes the opportunity to learn and grow in a richly diverse environment. University of Texas’ constitutionally valid admissions policy is essential not only to prepare students for the cultural demands of an increasingly global job market, but also to ensure that tomorrow’s educators reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the students they teach.”
Marco Petruzzi, President and CEO of Green Dot Public Schools said, “Because Green Dot Public Schools is committed to disrupting historically racialized student outcomes in generationally low-income communities, we are proud to join this brief. Our student population is almost entirely Latino or African-American, and we know that their opportunities for social and economic mobility are fundamentally unequal. When your likelihood of escaping poverty rests on your ability to overcome countless obstacles and discrimination, interventions are not just welcome, they are a necessary part of a more complete effort to restore equality and the American dream.”
Kyle Rosenkrans, CEO of Northeast Charter Schools Network said, “New York and Connecticut’s public charter school students will continue to enrich the college classrooms of the future, but only if the nation maintains its commitment to racial diversity in higher education. The very mission of many of our member schools is at risk should the court abandon racial diversity in higher education.”
You can read the full filing here.
Shavar Jeffries is available for interviews on this subject. To schedule an interview, please call Jessica Floyd at 202-223-9515 or email her at email@example.com.
Contact: Jessica Floyd, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-223-9515
May 10, 2022
April 28, 2022
March 11, 2022