Released June 29, 2023 — Today, the United States Supreme Court released a ruling in SFFA v. UNC and SFFA v. Harvard that will effectively end affirmative action, which the court has held as necessary for the past 40 years. Higher education institutions with whom the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) works closely will feel the impact of this decision most immediately; however, the long-term impact and its negative implications will be felt by nonprofit organizations, school districts, teacher residents, and teacher residency programs. The impact will be felt most by this country’s children who have benefitted from an intentional, explicit focus on recruiting and preparing teachers of color.
Eliminating race as an option for consideration in higher education admission decisions will have a significant impact on this country’s public education system. As we have seen since California and eight additional states ended affirmative action in college admissions, enrollment among college students of color will decline, and initiatives focused on recruiting and preparing teacher candidates of color will be impacted. In spite of this decision, NCTR stands firm in our commitment to support teacher residents of color and the teacher residency programs that prepare them. Our work will continue to center the lived experiences of teacher candidates of color, and our efforts to influence state and federal policy to support them will also continue.
We know from our work and the work of other organizations with whom we stand in solidarity with that an educator’s race, intersectionality, and lived experiences play an essential and impactful role in students’ success, particularly now, when the lingering impact of the pandemic still looms large for both educators and the students they teach. For the past 14 years, NCTR and other organizations throughout this country have undertaken the essential work required to rectify the harm done to generations of Black educators who have been denied access to resources, career advancement, and employment opportunities due to discriminatory practices and deeply ingrained prejudices. Affirmative action is a critical lever to rectify this historical injustice and dismantling the systemic barriers that have limited the representation of Black educators in the teaching profession. Taking a colorblind approach to teacher preparation threatens this critical work.
This ruling ignores what we know to be true about the role diversity plays in classrooms all over this country. We have learned much and care deeply about the powerful impact teacher residents of color have on the children they teach and the communities they serve and as such, we will honor our mission and move forward to ensure all children, especially students of color and students from low-income backgrounds, receive the quality education they deserve.
Kathlene Holmes Campbell, Ph.D.