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NEA President: Educators ‘dismayed’ by today’s Supreme Court decision, Shelby County v. Holder

WASHINGTON - June 25, 2013 -

Responding to today’s Supreme Court opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said:

“We are dismayed by the Supreme Court’s ruling today, which effectively paralyzes one of the key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Unfortunately, the opinion gives credence to the myth that our nation has achieved racial parity.

“Our biggest fear is not only that we will stop achieving equality, but more importantly, that we will lose ground. For those of us who have devoted our lives to fighting for social justice—especially for those of us who do so from the schoolhouse or the college campus—the thought is especially troubling.

“Despite the many gains we’ve made, the evidence that voting discrimination persists is plentiful. The right to vote is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans. As educators and leaders, we must work to protect that right by holding lawmakers accountable and ensuring that every single person’s voice can be heard through the ballot box. To that end, we urge Congress to move immediately toward re-enacting Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act with a formula that reflects the unfortunate current reality that racial discrimination still exists at the polls and elsewhere in the fabric of many communities.”

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Staci Maiers  (202) 822-7150,