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, December 21, 2009

U. of Minnesota Remains Under Fire for Plan to Promote Sensitivity Among Teachers

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has come under heavy fire from conservative pundits and a prominent free-speech advocacy group over a task force's plan to ensure that graduates of its teacher training program are culturally sensitive.

As reported in a Chronicle of Higher Education article, the plan by a faculty panel called the Race, Culture, Class, and Gender Task Group is chock full of language that pushes conservative buttons, including a call for prospective teachers to"be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression."

Some of its critics have themselves turned to fairly strong language, with one local radio host alleging that the education school is "one step away from advocating gas chambers for conservatives." Using much more measured language, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has said the changes called for by the plan would violate the U.S. Constitution by imposing ideological requirements on students at the education school.

Jean K. Quam, dean of the university's College of Education and Human Development, has stressed that the plan simply represents a set of ideas that the university has yet to act upon. Its basic goal, she says, is simply to ensure that tomorrow's teachers are equipped to handle the many forms of diversity they are likely to encounter in classrooms.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Federal Appeals Court Hears Challenge to Affirmative Action Preference Bans

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments last month in a legal challenge to the ban on affirmative-action preferences adopted by Michigan voters in 2006.

The case involves two lawsuits that have been consolidated into one. One of the two was filed on behalf of students, faculty members, and prospective applicants to Michigan's public universities, with the plaintiffs' legal team including lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Detroit branch of the NAACP, and the American Civil Liberties Union. The other lawsuit was brought by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, an activist group, known as BAMN, that played a significant role in fighting both Michigan's Proposal 2 and California's Proposition 209.

As discussed in depth here in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the plaintiffs appear to stand a good chance of success, at least initially. Two of the three judges handling the case at this level--Ransey Guy Cole Jr. and Martha Craig Daughtrey--are nominees of President Bill Clinton who have liberal reputations and were members of the Sixth Circuit majority that upheld the Michigan law school's policies in Grutter. The third member of the panel, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, was nominated by President George W. Bush but has a reputation as one of the court's more moderate Republican nominees.

How the plaintiffs will fare in the long run is another matter. Regardless of how it rules, the three-judge panel's decision is almost certain to be appealed to the full Sixth Circuit, whose membership tilts conservative.

Both of the joined lawsuits argue that the Michigan measure discriminates against minorities by leaving them uniquely burdened in the political process. While other Michigan constituencies, such as Upper Peninsula residents, can seek greater access to universities by merely appealing to officials of those institutions to favor them, minority residents who seek the reinstatement of race-conscious admissions policies to gain greater access must first pull off the difficult feat of getting voters in that predominantly white state to repeal its preference ban.