Press Release

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2014) -– ““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 United States is far from having an equitable K-12 educational system where the color of student’s’ skin truly does not matter.

“”Michigan’’s K-12 educational system, in particular, stands out as being both low in quality and starkly unequal. Its students of color are losing ground both compared with white students and compared with their counterparts in other states. School’s serving low-income students and students of color often don’t make sure that their students meet the standards of the Michigan Merit Curriculum — the set of courses necessary to prepare for college.

“”Instead of taking those problems head-on, state leaders have resorted to a market-based approach to improvement, harnessing their future to a fast-growing, unregulated charter school sector, which mostly mirrors the low and uneven performance of the state’s traditional school sector. The results are predictable — by the fourth grade, Michigan’’s black and Latino students are reading roughly two years behind their white peers, and by the eighth grade, they are three years behind in math. At the end of high school, college readiness rates among black and Latino Michiganders are well below those of white students.

“”Pretending that you can be ‘’race blind’’ on top of such a starkly unequal public school system is sheer insanity. This is decidedly not what equal opportunity looks like.””