Election Day Countdown, SCOTUS Considers Race-Conscious College Admissions

Election Day Countdown

We are coming down from the Halloween sugar high…Now the real scary season starts!

Next Tuesday, voters in Connecticut and across the country will head to the polls in a mid-term referendum on President Biden’s first two years in office. In deep blue Connecticut, we will see if voters are feeling optimistic about continuing with a Democratic-led State Capitol, General Assembly, and federal delegation and whether they will support CT’s Early Voting ballot initiative. It looks very promising for a Democratic sweep in all of Connecticut’s constitutional officesNed Lamont for Governor, Stephanie Thomas for Secretary of the State, Sean Scanlon for Comptroller, Erick Russell for Treasurer, and William Tong for Attorney General.

Meanwhile, the federal delegation is rallying for one of their own. The latest polling in CT-05 has HELP Committee member and former National Teacher of the Year US Rep. Jahana Hayes neck and neck with her Republican opponent George Logan. With it looking very uphill for Dems to retain majorities in the House, this seat is one to watch. (And if you don’t want to just watch, but also do… here is how you can GOTV for Rep. Hayes!)

The General Assembly here in Connecticut is likely to stay pretty close to its existing two-to-one Democratic majority in both houses. This week, the CT Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas calculates there are 42 (!) candidates running uncontested in the legislature, out of 187 seats, making them a sure thing. The lack of term limits and mostly-sleepy primary seasons have also led to little turnover year to year. Nevertheless, there are still a few races that will be thisclose in the State Senate and House, so remember to finish filling out your full ballots at the box!

Stay tuned next Wednesday morning for an unpacked Election Day– and what it will mean for CT students when the policy work gets underway in the 2023 session!

SCOTUS Considers Race-Conscious College Admissions

Yesterday, Education Reform Now hosted a panel on race conscious admissions, following Monday's much-anticipated oral arguments on the issue before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). At issue are the use of race as a factor in college admissions at both Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Although such programs have been repeatedly upheld by SCOTUS since 1978, the court's right-leaning composition makes it likely that these practices will newly be either restricted or outlawed altogether.

A decision like that would decrease representation of Black and Latino students in elite institutions of higher education, observes Adam Liptak of the New York Times, with major societal implications. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson noted that such an outcome has potential to cause an equal protection problem by prohibiting admissions officers from considering the backgrounds of racial minorities. Justice Elena Kagan also questioned the implications for our national ideals if we, a country striving toward equality and integration, overturn this precedent. “I thought part of what it means to be American … is that our institutions are representative of who we actually are, in all of our variety,” she said.

Some major US companies have filed a brief indicating that they would struggle to meet diversity hiring goals and finding highly-qualified workers if colleges did away with affirmative action. Fortune's coverage also adds that most of the justices hearing the case attended a college or university that is urging the court to preserve race-conscious admissions.

Yesterday's exciting conversation featured Senior Writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education Eric Hoover; ACCEPT Founder Marie Bigham; EducationCounsel Co-Founder Art Coleman; Associate Director for the Educational Opportunities Project Genzie Bonadies Torres; NAACP Legal Defense Fund Senior Counsel Michaele Turnage Young; and ERN Senior Policy Analyst James Murphy. A key takeaway, Murphy offered, is that, regardless of the case’s outcome, we should all use the case as a call to action for more inclusive institutions of higher education. Watch the full event here. SCOTUS’ decision is likely to come down by June 2023.

​We’re just 2 weeks away from Philos (agenda here!), Education Reform Now's annual, invitation-only conference!! This year’s event is in Washington D.C. on Thursday, November 17th. Reach out to nicki@edreformnow.org for details.

We’re just 2 weeks away from Philos (agenda here!), Education Reform Now's annual, invitation-only conference!! This year’s event is in Washington D.C. on Thursday, November 17th. Reach out to nicki@edreformnow.org for details.

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