Press Release: Scholars File Amicus Brief in Support of Boston Parent Coalition

National Association of Scholars

New York, New York; May 21, 2024—Yesterday, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence. The Parent Coalition is challenging the Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) policy to “racially balance” incoming classes at elite high schools. The brief argues that BPS’s actions violate the Equal Protection Clause. The Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, an Asian-American civil rights organization, cosigned the amicus curiae brief.

“Last year, the United States Supreme Court struck a blow to state-sponsored racial discrimination in the watershed opinion, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard,” said NAS President Peter Wood. “While that decision to eliminate racial preferences validated the beliefs of most Americans—that the solution to discrimination is not more discrimination—it did not deal a final blow to those who would use race as a primary factor in deciding student opportunities.”

In 2019, BPS set out to redesign the admissions policy at its elite schools. The previous policy required a city-wide competition based on a student’s “composite score” of merit-based attributes, such as grade point average and admissions exams. BPS replaced this policy with a process based on ZIP code quotas. The Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing the Parent Coalition, notes that BPS’s changes had an immediate effect on the racial makeup of student enrollment: “white student representation in seventh- and ninth-grade classes dropped from 33% to 24% while Asian American representation dropped from 21% to 16%.”

“We have seen this before,” continued Wood. “These changes, coupled with testimony from BPS board meetings, clearly indicate a policy of race-by-proxy. Such initiatives are a stealthy means to advance racial discrimination, sacrificing one racial group to advance another in a zero-sum game. This is unconstitutional.”

Since its inception in 1987, NAS has been a steadfast opponent of racial preferences in admissions. NAS members were instrumental in drafting the text of California Proposition 209 in 1998, which effectively made racial-based admissions illegal in that state. In the decades since, NAS has been unwavering in support of racial neutrality and merit-based admissions. NAS has filed countless amicus briefs to support equal opportunity in education, including briefs filed in support of Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (“SFFA”).

Wood concluded: “All Americans should support the Boston Parent Coalition’s efforts. We all have a vested interest in eliminating race as a qualification—or even a factor—for admission. The National Association of Scholars looks forward to the Court granting the Coalition’s petition.”

NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at


If you would like more information about this issue, please email Chance Layton at [email protected].

Photo by lazyllama on Adobe Stock

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