The U.S. Supreme Court could change the way diversity initiatives are implemented in preK – 12 public education this fall when it considers Fisher v. University of Texas, which involves diversity initiatives under a challenge of discrimination. Although this case relates to higher education, its decision will trickle down to preK – 12 public education.
In Fisher, two white students applied to the University of Texas and were denied admission. They challenged the university’s race-conscious admissions policy, which was designed to enhance diversity. They alleged that any consideration of race in the admissions process is an unconstitutional form of race discrimination. In addition, they are asking the Court to reconsider its previous decisions involving educational diversity.
The reason why the decision in Fisher will impact preK – 12 education starts with the Court’s decision in an earlier case, Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). In Grutter, the Court held that sometimes university decision making could include a racial component, saying:
Student diversity should be part of a broad effort to achieve exposure to a widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints. Student diversity can play a role in serving public education’s civic mission of preparing citizens for participation in our democratic processes and an increasingly global economy. — Grutter v. Bolinger, 539 U.S. at 330.