The Educational Opportunities Project (“EOP”) strives to guarantee that all students receive equal educational opportunities in public schools and institutions of higher learning. Working with private law firms and community leaders, the EOP has been successful in promoting diverse and integrated learning environments; enforcing the rights of students with disabilities and English Language Learners; challenging discriminatory school discipline policies, student assignment practices; as well as school funding inequities. Currently, the EOP is leading efforts to defend race conscious college admissions policies, and represents a diverse set of underrepresented minority students at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina. The EOP also recently secured a victory in one of the most important higher education desegregation cases to be brought in decades — a case that will restore equity for Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard
In July 2018, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – along with a coalition of other civil rights groups – joined Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard and submitted an amicus brief to support Harvard’s motion for summary judgement in the lawsuit. This coalition, which represents a cohort of racially diverse applicants, current students, and alumni at Harvard College, offers expertise to assist the court in its ruling.
The coalition was given special “amicus plus” status, which will allow the represented students to participate in oral argument and submit evidence, greatly enhancing their voices beyond a typical amicus brief.
In the amicus brief, the coalition asserts that ethno-racial diversity is crucial to students; not only educationally, but also personally and professionally. It also explains that Harvard’s current admissions policy is in compliance with the Supreme Court in that it does not treat race as the primary consideration for admission, and that Harvard has a vested interest in promoting greater representation of, and diversity within, students of color through continued consideration of race as part of a holistic admissions process.
Anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions originally brought this lawsuit against Harvard in 2014. It challenges Harvard’s race-conscious holistic admissions policy under claims that the policy intentionally discriminates against Asian American students and violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The case is currently preparing to go to the Supreme Court.
- Civil Rights Groups File Brief in Support of Race Conscious Admissions at Harvard
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Responds to DOJ’s Attack on Racial Diversity in Harvard Case
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Takes New Action to Defend Interests of Asian American Minority Students in Harvard Affirmative Action Lawsuit
- Harvard Students Provide Testimony in SFFA v. Harvard, Defend Race-Conscious Holistic Admissions
- (CNN) The Asian-American case against Harvard: What to watch for
- (CNN) Harvard students to testify as affirmative action trial nears end
- Amicus brief: Memorandum of Amici Curiae in Support Of Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment on Remaining Counts II, III, V in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., Plaintiff, v. President and Fellows Of Harvard College (Harvard Corporation), Defendant.
The Mission of the Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program
The Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP) seeks to improve K-12 student performance, retention, and access to equal educational opportunities. We serve low-income and minority children in targeted communities by increasing parental engagement in education and ensuring that parents become successful advocates for their children. Our goal is for every child to have meaningful access to a quality education.
PREP is about improving education for all students. We use a creative model, combining the energies of parents, schools, civil rights groups, the private bar and the corporate sector. Together we create a powerful potential for advocacy on behalf of students who are often excluded from or denied educational opportunity.
PREP is about equality. It is about education. It is about ordinary people learning to advocate for themselves. And it is a growing force that began as a single pilot program, and is scaling up to sites across the country.
Why parental empowerment? Why PREP?
Parental empowerment is an important part of ensuring that children have the opportunity to succeed in education. Research clearly demonstrates that parental involvement is one of the pillars of educational achievement. The difference between an involved parent and a disengaged one can make as much as a whole grade level difference in a child’s academic achievement.
PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT MATTERS FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS IN A VARIETY OF WAYS:
- Parental effort correlates with high achievement and high levels of school resources
- Parental involvement produces higher achievement in urban schools
- Parental engagement has long-term effects on student success
- PREP can improve the amount and quality of this parental engagement. Attendees of our workshops and
trainings report an improved ability to advocate on behalf of their children. Programs that encourage parents to be active in their children’s education can result in improved long-term academic success.
By focusing on low-income and minority communities, PREP will improve academic achievement for historically disadvantaged populations, and help them to advocate for themselves in the face of exclusion or discrimination. PREP therefore works to reverse historic trends of marginalization and neglect, and gives parents the resources they need to ensure that the next generation never has to suffer from unequal access to opportunity and success.
Let Us Learn: Schools For Every Child
Let Us Learn: Schools for Every Child is an initiative of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to protect the constitutional right of all children, regardless of their immigration status, to attend public school in the United States. Confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe, immigrant and refugee children have a right to a K-12 education, and school districts cannot deny this basic right based on a student’s or their parent’s immigration status.
Let Us Learn seeks to protect this right through outreach to three important groups – state Attorneys General, school districts, and parents and students. Specifically, we have:
- Sent letters to the Attorneys General of all 50 states and the District of Columbia urging them to enforce their responsibilities under the law and provide clear, written guidance to the educators of their states on their constitutional obligations.
- Identified thirty school districts around the country whose policies appear to be out of compliance with the law and demanded that they reform their policies and/or clarify their online enrollment information in order to protect the right of all children to access an education.
- Developed and compiled resources on school enrollment to ensure that parents, students, and teachers know their rights under the law.
- Created online form for parents and educators to ask questions about school enrollment and anonymously report school districts whose policies appear out of compliance with the law.
We welcome you to explore the resources we have created as well as those we link to from others organizations. You can contact us at [email protected].
Use our online intake form if:
- You are worried that your school may report you or your child to ICE;
- Your child been discouraged or denied enrollment in school because of their immigration status; or
- You want to ask a question about school enrollment policies.
Fifty-seven civil rights and education organizations signed onto the principles, asking members of Congress to fulfill their role in helping educators and communities create and maintain safe schools that afford all students equal educational opportunities by incorporating these principles into all relevant legislation.
The principles cover issues of school climate, including students’ civil rights, discipline practices, childhood trauma, harassment and discrimination, data collection, school infrastructure, school-based law enforcement, and students’ health and safety. The proposed changes will prevent further disenfranchisement and criminalization of historically marginalized students, including students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQ youth, religious minorities, sexual assault survivors, and immigrant students, among others.
Read Principles here