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NTC Statement on Supreme Court Overturning Affirmative Action

College Student Graduation

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to end affirmative action will shape our society for generations. The ruling rejects 40 years of precedent and reinterprets the 14th Amendment and the Congress that enacted the Civil Rights Act. Race-conscious admissions were never the end goal or solution. But it served as a tool for colleges and universities to ensure that campuses are places of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity so that they can be institutions of profound and transformative teaching and learning.

For NTC, an organization started by teachers, education is vital for providing access to opportunities and fostering upward mobility, particularly for systemically underserved communities. In 2019, we shifted our mission statement to name that enabling the conditions for success in school and life for every student requires “disrupting the predictability of educational inequities for systemically underserved students.”

We must prioritize and guarantee equitable opportunities for all individuals to pursue higher education. Cultivating a democracy with education as its bedrock and ensuring access to college opportunities are fundamental to our nation’s prosperity. And science says we all benefit from taking decisive actions to ensure diversity is part of the design of classrooms, campuses, and businesses, the fabric of every part of our lives. Studies show that students perform better in a diverse environment, which continues throughout life into adulthood and the workforce. Research from the Center for American Progress shares that “the overall academic and social effects of increased racial diversity on campus are likely to be positive, ranging from higher levels of academic achievement to the improvement of near- and long-term intergroup relations.” And the Scientific American said it best: “Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not.”

NTC’s vision is that every student deserves an excellent and equitable education that empowers them to reach their full potential in classrooms, communities, and beyond. Teaching and learning is a dynamic, relational exchange where students’ full stories, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences flourish.

The heaviness we face cannot and will not squash our momentum. It’s the ball we’ve been nudging up, only to feel it rolling back down the hill. Yesterday’s decision makes our work and the work of countless others essential. It also calls us all — friends, neighbors, loved ones, colleagues, and communities — to roll up our sleeves to do the messy and hard work of achieving a new educational design that doesn’t work around the edges. One that moves past managing inequity. One that disassembles systemic barriers. And one that results in justice for all American people to pursue opportunity and success. Despite what the court has ruled, diversity is an American value. We must stand shoulder to shoulder to push that ball forward and up, individually and collectively, sustaining each other as we go.

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