Press Release

AFT's Weingarten on Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action Decision

For Release: 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Richard A. Fowler
202/393-6355; Cell: 202/412-7745

WASHINGTON— Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, upholding a constitutional amendment in Michigan banning preferential treatment based on race, gender, ethnicity and national origin.

"The Supreme Court today struck a troubling blow to our nation's commitment to equal opportunity for all students. This decision has made it clear that equal treatment trumps equal opportunity, and it gives states the ability to write affirmative action out of their law books. This ruling, taken with the Supreme Court's evisceration of the Voting Rights Act, takes us backward on racial equality. We agree with Justice Sotomayor that 'this refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable.'

"I believe that every student, regardless of race, gender or ethnic background, deserves access to a quality higher education—and today's decision will make it harder to deliver on that promise. I also fundamentally believe that our colleges and universities are strengthened through diverse student bodies, which provide richer learning environments for all students.

"It is especially disappointing that the Supreme Court would turn its back on our nation's long history of discrimination as we prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.