Statements and Letters
AAC&U Board of Directors Executive Committee Statement
on Supreme Court Ruling Striking Down School Integration Plans
July 2, 2007
The Association of American Colleges and Universities is relieved that the Supreme Court has not entirely closed the door to affirmative efforts to create educationally diverse settings for learning. But no one can take pleasure in a decision that effectively disregards the high cost to our democracy that the de facto segregation in our schools and communities both creates and perpetuates.
On June 28, the Supreme Court overturned voluntary school desegregation policies in two U.S. cities. The Supreme Court’s decision is a moral setback for a nation that, however imperfectly, has been working to overcome the social and economic legacies of several centuries of legally enforced racial and ethnic stratification. The decision severely constrains community and school efforts to act on the intended meaning of Brown vs. the Board of Education. It frustrates American society’s efforts to create a more equitable, just and successfully integrated democracy.
The decision also is a setback for this nation’s efforts to prepare Americans successfully for the workplace. Educators and employers strongly agree that, to be prepared for the global economy, Americans need both knowledge of societal diversity and direct experience in working and solving problems with people of different backgrounds. AAC&U’s recent survey of employers shows that 76% of the employers surveyed want higher education to place more emphasis on teaching students to “collaborate with others in diverse group settings.”
But racially isolated public schools—whether majority or minority in their composition—cannot provide the fertile ground for engaging societal diversity that a well-prepared college student needs.
With the nation’s July 4th birthday just days away, Americans face profound challenges on every front: civic, economic, global. The Supreme Court’s decision on school desegregation depletes rather than builds American capacity to tackle these challenges successfully.
AAC&U Board of Directors Executive Committee
Robert A. Corrigan
San Francisco State University
Christopher C. Dahl
State University of New York College at Geneseo
Carol Geary Schneider
Jamienne S. Studley
President and CEO
Public Advocates, Inc.
Daniel F. Sullivan
Saint Lawrence University