Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Education Groups Lament Affirmative Action Ruling

Education and civil rights groups are already reacting with concern to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-2 decision Tuesday to uphold Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in state public universities’ admissions.

Many pointed toward the dissenting opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who as a Latina raised in a low-income home has insights into the issue on a personal level.

In her opinion, she wrote “We ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.” 

The Civil RIghts Project at UCLA issued a statement criticizing the decision. The group indicated that UCLA, where it is based, struggles to create “a genuinely diverse campus.” 

“Yesterday’s decision is another in a series by the current Supreme Court pushing the nation backward in terms of racial equity, and interpreting away key civil rights precedents,” the group said. 

Interestingly, the University of California system made national headlines this week for announcing that for the first time it had offered more Latino students than white students admission to the freshman class. However, state officials point out that the numbers still lag the state’s demographics.

“It’s not as if those numbers represent a success story,” said UC System associate president Nina Robinson, according to The Washington Post.

The Education Trust also released a statement critical of the decision from president Kati Haycock and Education Trust-Midwest executive director Amber Arellano.

““If our nation’s schools provided an education to students of color anywhere near the quality of education they provide to white students, we would feel a lot more comfortable with the Supreme Court’s decision today to let stand the decision of Michigan’s voters to ban the use of race as a consideration in admission to the state’s colleges and universities,” the statement said. “The United States is far from having an equitable K-12 educational system where the color of students’ skin truly does not matter.”