What people say about Color and Money-

"Anyone interested in the inequities of the selective college admissions process will find Color and Money clear-eyed, hard-hitting, enlightening, and informative."--Rachel Toor, author of Admissions Confidential: An Insider's Account of the Elite College Selection Process.
"For those concerned about why the march toward social justice in America has faltered badly for nearly forty years, Peter Schmidt's Color and Money is a highly instructive--and greatly disturbing--guidepost." --Richard Kluger, author of Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality.
"An indispensible guide to the debate over affirmative action in the United States."--Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation.
"This book is a must read for anyone concerned with access to higher education, especially to the nation’s elite universities, as well as with larger questions of social policy and social justice."--Terry MacTaggart, Former Chancellor, University of Maine System
"Books on the highly-charged issue of affirmative action are usually one-sided and inflammatory. Peter Schmidt's Color and Money is a wonderful exception. It provides an honest and fair examination that is also passionate and illuminating."--Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation, and author of The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action

Peter Schmidt is available as a speaker

Peter Schmidt is available to speak at colleges, bookstores, schools, churches, and at gatherings of education associations. His past speaking engagements are listed at the bottom of this Web site. If interested in having him appear, e-mail him at schmidt_peter@msn.com. He also is available as an expert source for journalists covering affirmative action. Those on a tight deadline should email him at peter.schmidt@chronicle.com.

Hear interviews with Peter Schmidt

Jack Lessenberry of Michigan Public Radio talked to Peter Schmidt about Color and Money in August. You can hear the interview here. Reading the book inspired Jack to write an essay on it, which you can read here. You also can hear Peter Schmidt talk about his book on the NPR program Justice Talking and in a Chronicle of Higher Education podcast.

Color and Money Is a College Course!

Many college professors are now using Color and Money in their classes, but Jack Dougherty, the director of the educational studies program at Trinity College in Connecticut, has gone a big step beyond. He has decided to name a freshman seminar "Color and Money" and to structure the class around the book. He has graciously agreed to share his syllabus, available here, for faculty members at other colleges who may have the same idea.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Plans for Sweeping Study of Colleges' Admissions Preferences Are Met with Skepticism

About 30 professors and graduate students have formed a national consortium to study the short- and long-term effects of colleges' various admissions preferences on students who receive them.

The undertaking is called Project SEAPHE, with the acronym standing for Scale and Effect of Admissions Preferences in Higher Education. It will focus chiefly on affirmative-action preferences for minority students, but it also intends to examine the effects of the admissions preferences that colleges give other subsets of the applicant pool, such as athletes and the children of alumni.

The consortium's leaders say its researchers hold a wide variety of views toward affirmative action. Dozens of colleges and law schools have already provided the group with student data, generally in response to letters citing state freedom-of-information laws.

Some advocates of affirmative action have doubts about the consortium's neutrality and question whether its work will be objective. The consortium's leader, Richard H. Sander, a UCLA law professor whose work is described in Color and Money, has been widely attacked by affirmative-action proponents for his past research concluding that law schools' affirmative action policies may do minority students more harm than good by placing them in environments where they struggle academically. The consortium's efforts are being financed by the Searle Freedom Trust, a Washington-based foundation that has contributed generously to conservative groups such as the American Enterprise Institute.

An Chronicle of Higher Education article discussing Project SEAPHE in more depth is available here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Prominent Foes of Affirmative Action Get Behind Rudy Giuliani

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's campaign for the presidency has picked up the support of some of the nation's most prominent foes of affirmative-action preferences. They include Ward Connerly, who has been named as one of Mr. Giuliani's at-large delegate candidates in the California Republican primaries, and lawyers Gerald Reynolds, Brian Jones, and Clint Bolick, all of whom have played leading roles in organizations opposed to such policies and now are part of part of Mr. Giuliani's team of education advisers. For his part, Mr. Connerly says he sees himself and Mr. Giuliani as largely on the same page on the affirmative action issue. Additional details are available here on The Chronicle of Higher Education blog in an article available to non-subscribers.

Court Hands a Key Victory to Campaign to Limit Affirmative Action in Missouri

A state court judge has given a major break to the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative, the campaign organization for a proposed November 2008 ballot measure to bar public colleges and other state and local agencies there from using affirmative-action preferences. In a stunning rebuke to Missouri's secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, the judge has thrown out the summary language that Ms. Carnahan sought to place on the proposed ballot measure over its backers' objections. The secretary of state had summarized the proposed amendment as banning "affirmative-action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment, and education"--language that its backers saw as calculated to turn voters against it. In a January 7 ruling, the state judge rewrote the summary language to say the measure would "ban state and local government affirmative-action programs that give preferential treatment in public contracting, employment, or education based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin." Ms. Carnahan has pledged to appeal the ruling, but, for now at least, the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative is gathering signatures to put the measure on the ballot using the language the judge drafted. Details of the judge's ruling, and other legal questions that it addressed, are available here in The Chronicle of Higher Education. See also this past entry on the Color and Money blog.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Medical Schools Diagnosed with a Rising Blue Blood Count

An analysis of medical-school enrollments published by the Association of American Medical Colleges says the share of their students from privileged backgrounds is growing. As reported on the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog, the share of their students from the wealthiest fifth of society rose from 50.8 percent in 2000 to 55.2 percent in 2005, the most recent year examined. Meanwhile, despite the medical schools' professed interest in promoting economic diversity in their enrollments, their share of entering students from the poorest fifth of society has remained well below 6 percent for nearly 20 years. Among the factors that the analysis blames for the growing lack of economic diversity at medical schools: student debt levels that have been rising faster than physician pay, and a similar lack of economic diversity at the undergraduate institutions from which medical schools draw their students.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Low-Income Enrollments Declining at Many Top Colleges

Enrollments of low-income students have undergone both short- and long-term declines at many prestigious universities and liberal arts colleges, according to an analysis of federal Pell Grant data published in the latest issue of the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education and summarized here on The Chronicle of Higher Education news blog.

The analysis found that some institutions experienced declines in the share of their students receiving need-based Pell Grants even after launching widely publicized efforts to cover the full tuition costs of low-income students. “Contrary to what one might expect, it appears that there is no strong correlation between the generous new fiscal measures and success in bringing low-income students to the campus,” the Journal says. “The only sure conclusion is that money alone will not do the job.” It suggests that colleges take other steps, such as aggressive recruiting, to try to increase the share of their students who are low-income.

The Journal's analysis examined 30 top universities and 30 top liberal arts colleges. Confirming an observation made by Peter Schmidt in Color and Money, it shows that low-income students accounted for a rapidly rising share of the enrollments of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles in the decade after those institutions were barred under state law from considering race in admissions. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor experienced a sharp decline in the share of its students who were low-income during the years in which if fought to keep its race-conscious admissions policies in place.