Press Release

Civil Rights Groups: School Diversity Guidance “Good for Our Young People, for Our Communities and for Our Nation”

The National Coalition on School Diversity
The Leadership Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2011

Washington, DC – In response to the joint guidance released today by the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice, civil rights groups released a joint statement below. The guidance provides a roadmap for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to implement the voluntary diversity and integration standards set by the Supreme Court’s decisions in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Parents Involved v. Seattle Schools (2007):

“This thoughtfully crafted guidance affirms, as a majority of Supreme Court justices have recognized, that K-12 schools, colleges, and universities have compelling interests in ensuring integration and alleviating racial and economic isolation in our schools.

As the new guidance states, “providing students with diverse, inclusive educational opportunities from an early age is crucial to achieving the nation’s educational and civic goals.” In short, we agree that these recommendations are good for our young people, for our communities and for our nation.

Racial segregation and concentrated poverty are increasing in our nation’s schools, suggesting that we are backtracking on the successes of the civil rights movement. Many schools are more racially isolated today than they were in the 1970s. Today’s guidance recognizes the harms of resegregation and the benefits of diversity.

We echo the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, as well as the Supreme Court majority, in acknowledging that “the skills students need for success in ‘today’s increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints.’”

Although K-12 and higher educational institutions can seek alternatives above and beyond the avenues suggested by the guidance, we stand ready to work with the Federal Government in this vital effort to promote inclusive educational opportunities, for the sake of all our children – and for the long-term well-being of our nation.”

Signed,

American Civil Liberties Union
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School

Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA

Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
The Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under the Law
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
MALDEF: Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
New York Appleseed
UNC School of Law Center for Civil Rights
National Coalition on School Diversity
    Press Contact: Prof. John C. Brittain, 832.687.3007, jbrittatty@comcast.net
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
    Press Contact: Saba Bireda, (m) 347.512.2746, (o) 202.906.8043, sbireda@prrac.org