Race: Education and Incarceration
The Supreme Court should consider the impact on our nation when considering whether the University of Texas at Austin has demonstrated a need for its inclusive admissions policy under the constitutional test. There is a tight correlation between under-education and mass incarceration. Increased access to education has been proven to provide a better future for people who face the greatest barriers to economic opportunities.
But the Court’s support of these policies alone will not be enough to break the cycle of poverty-to-prison in urban communities of color. Our government must also redirect out-of-control spending on imprisonment into substantial investments in elementary and secondary public education in these communities.
This week’s Supreme Court oral argument in Fisher v. Texas showed the Justices’ focus on the technical interpretation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution and standards to achieve diversity in universities. Notably, Fisher has been popularly branded an “affirmative action” case but the admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin at issue in the case does not rely on racial quotas or preferences. It merely uses race as one of a multitude of factors when evaluating what an applicant can add to the University community.