NCSD Issues Statement on Supreme Court

Ruling in Harvard and UNC Cases

Photo courtesy of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law


In the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Harvard University and University of North Carolina admissions cases, the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) reiterates its unwavering commitment to defend our nation’s greatest strength—our multiracial diversity.

At NCSD, we firmly believe that diversity is not a mere buzzword but a cornerstone of educational excellence. When students from various backgrounds learn alongside one another, they gain invaluable insights that transcend textbooks and classroom lessons. Exposure to different perspectives, cultures, and ideas fosters critical thinking, empathy, and understanding. It equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in our increasingly interconnected and multiracial democracy.

For nearly 50 years, efforts to achieve diversity in higher education have also played a crucial role in leveling the playing field and providing equitable opportunities to historically marginalized communities. Admissions policies that acknowledge students’ racial backgrounds, among other factors, recognize that systemic barriers – often tied to income and wealth disparities, residential segregation, and historical inequities – can hinder access to quality education. 

Today's Supreme Court decision makes our coalition's work even more critical. Policies and practices that promote diversity in PK-12 schools play an important role in ensuring that our education system does not become even more racially fragmented, and that educational resources and opportunities are equitably distributed. NCSD calls on policymakers, education leaders, researchers, advocates, and organizers to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to school diversity. We must stand united in our determination to build a future where all students – regardless of income, zip code, or racial and ethnic background – are provided an education to realize their highest potential. The principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are core to our efforts in achieving a stronger, more just, fair, and opportunity-rich America for all.

NCSD and our members remain resolute in our commitment to defending diversity and equity in our nation's schools. In the words of several of our members:

“The Supreme Court’s decision goes against decades of social science evidence about the benefits of diversity and harms of segregation in K-12 and higher education. Efforts to ameliorate segregation and inequality in K-12 schools will be even more important to ensure equitable, integrated opportunities for children, youth, and to benefit our communities.” Erica Frankenberg, Professor of Education and Demography and Director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights, Penn State

“Diversity in K-12 education is vital if our nation is to function as a multiracial democracy. All students benefit from diversity. Diversity in K-12 is even more urgent in light of the Court’s decision if we are to address inequities along racial lines that undermine higher education access, including resource disparities like inequitable access to experienced educators.”Janel George, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Racial Equity in Education Law (REEL) Policy Clinic, Georgetown Law

“All students deserve the opportunity to attend schools that are not only well-resourced but also diverse; both elements are critical to ensure equal educational opportunity. After today’s opinion, it’s more important than ever that ELC remains steadfast in our commitment to ensure that PK-12 schools provide students of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds a fair shot to attend college and realize their full potential.”Robert Kim, Executive Director, Education Law Center

“It is essential that K-12 educational leaders double down on their school integration efforts, using the many tools available to them to promote racial and socioeconomic diversity in order to prepare students for success in and after high school. The Century Foundation’s Bridges Collaborative has supported leaders from nearly 50 different school districts and charter schools across the country in promoting racial and socioeconomic integration in their schools and communities, and we stand ready to work with more.”Stefan Lallinger, Executive Director of Next100 and Senior Fellow, and Halley Potter, Pre-K-12 Education Team and Bridges Collaborative Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

“In the face of today’s Supreme Court setback, we will continue our work to ensure all students can bring their whole, authentic selves to the college admissions process. We reaffirm IDRA’s 50-year commitment to support students of color in overcoming persistent inequalities in K-12 education that create unfair barriers to college.”Celina Moreno, President and CEO, Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA)

“The Court has made a terrible historic error by telling the nation’s colleges to abandon what their experience has shown them are essential to preserving integration and opportunity. To reduce the loss of talent, educational leaders and policymakers must do all they can to help offset the rising college barriers for students of color. A first step should be a plan of action to repair the shamefully unequal preparation and counseling offered in our segregated high schools and increase access to strong magnet schools. When one gate slams shut, we must start opening others.” Gary Orfield, Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Law, Political Science, and Urban Planning and Co-Director of The Civil Rights Project, UCLA

“As legally misguided and ahistorical as the Supreme Court’s decision may be, it does not impede the goal of racial and economic integration in K-12 schools. We need to persevere in our commitment to the goal of inclusive and diverse communities and schools.”Philip Tegeler, Executive Director, Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)


For media inquiries, please contact: Jenna Tomasello ([email protected])

Founded in 2009, the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) is a cross-sector network of 50+ national civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions working to expand support for school integration. NCSD supports its members in designing, enacting, implementing, and uplifting PK-12 public school integration policies and practices so we may build cross-race/class relationships, share power and resources, and co-create new realities.

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