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NEA files friend of the court brief in Fisher II case before the U.S. Supreme Court

Brief filed on behalf of 34 state affiliates of NEA and four other national labor organizations

WASHINGTON - November 03, 2015 -

The National Education Association and a broad coalition of 34 NEA state affiliates, as well as the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, and SEIU, filed an amicus curiae brief in the Fisher vs. The University of Texas case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is challenging the use of affirmative action programs in public institutions of higher education. In June of this year the Supreme Court agreed to again review the constitutionality of considering race and ethnicity in college admissions. The Supreme Court considered the same case two terms ago. The NEA and allies again call on the Supreme Court to uphold affirmative action as constitutionally permissible in this case.

“The societal and educational benefits of racially diverse classrooms in public elementary, secondary, and higher education are well documented. A robust body of empirical research confirms that racially diverse schools and classrooms produce tangible and lasting improvements in academic achievement for minority students, while also benefitting nonminority students. Classroom contact among students of different races also reduces stereotypes and prejudice, and has been found to be more effective in promoting tolerance and cross-racial understanding than any other pedagogical method. Classrooms with a “critical mass” of minority students help to equalize opportunity and offer enduring benefits to a multiracial, democratic society, and its citizens.”

NEA amicus curiae brief, November 2, 2015

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“As educators, we are keenly aware of the enduring benefits of a racially diverse student population. We know firsthand that integrated schools remain one of the most successful ways to ensure equal opportunity for all students regardless of race, ethnicity or the ZIP code in which they live.

“This friend of the court filing reaffirms our commitment to continue to vigorously defend the use of affirmative action in order to produce diverse classrooms, ones in which all students have an equal opportunity to succeed in our increasingly diverse and interconnected society.

“This filing also speaks about our fundamental belief that a racially diverse student population is essential for all public schools – from pre-K to high school – as well as colleges and universities, to promote racial acceptance, improve academic performance, and foster a robust exchange of ideas.

“We respectfully urge the Supreme Court to uphold affirmative action programs in higher education not only to help address existing discrimination but, most importantly, to plant the seed for a better, more just society.”

Click here to view a copy of the legal brief NEA filed with the U.S. Supreme Court
 ( PDF, 243 KB, 60 pgs.)

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at


CONTACT:  Miguel A. Gonzalez