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.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Madness Brings News of Widening Black-White Gap in Players' Graduation Rates

Although the black members of the basketball teams of colleges represented in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament appear to be doing slightly better academically than they did in the past, the gap between their graduation rate and the graduation rate of white players on those teams has grown, according to a new report.

The report by the The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida says 84 percent of white and 56 percent of black basketball players at those colleges graduate--a 6 percentage-point increase for white basketball players and a 2 percentage-point increase for black players over last year's study.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Utah Drive for Preference Ban Stalls in Legislature

An effort to amend Utah's state constitution to ban the use of affirmative-action preferences by public colleges and state and local agencies has been put off a year after meeting resistance in the state legislature.

As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, the backers of the proposed amendment were just shy of getting enough legislative votes to put the measure on the ballot this fall. They needed 50 votes in the state House of Representatives, but, as a result of four Republicans representatives' refusal to join other GOP members in supporting the bill, they appeared to have just 49 votes locked down as lawmakers wrapped up their 2010 session..

Legislative leaders have agreed to study the issue, and it appears likely the measure will come up again next year.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Obama Administration Announces New Effort to Enforce Civil Rights in Education

As reported here in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Obama administration pledged this week to expand enforcement of civil-rights laws in education. At a press conference held in Selma, Ala., on the 45th anniversary of the historic civil-rights march there, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights "has not been as vigilant as it should have been" over the past decade, and plans to undertake investigations at six colleges and 30 school districts to determine whether they are complying with the law.

The assistant secretary for civil rights, Russlynn H. Ali, angered conservatives by saying the department would start using "disparate-impact" analysis, which attempts to prove discrimination not through direct evidence of racist acts, but through numerical data showing that policies have a disproportionate impact on certain groups of people. The approach is controversial because numerical gaps in educational participation often can be linked to factors other than deliberate discrimination, such as gaps in educational preparation linked to culture, immigrant status, or socioeconomic class.

The U.S. Supreme Court barred the use of disparate-impact analysis as the basis of private lawsuits against federally supported state agencies in a 2001 decision. The majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, said the civil-rights law at issue in the case, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, does not specifically give private citizens the right to sue to ensure that its provisions are enforced. As discussed at length in Color and Money, the Clinton administration came under intense criticism for--and eventually abandoned--proposed regulations warning college admissions offices not to rely too heavily on standardized tests that were thought to be biased against minority students or women based on disparate-impact analysis.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

California Preference Ban Challenged in Bid to Thwart Similar Measures

An activist group has filed a federal lawsuit challenging California's Proposition 209 ban on affirmative-action preferences in a bid to keep similar measures from being passed elsewhere.

As reportered by Color and Money author Peter Schmidt in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the lawsuit argues that the California measure, adopted by that state's voters in 1996, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by placing a distinct set of legal hurdles in front of minority groups seeking to increase their representation on the university system's campuses. The group behind the lawsuit--the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary--is seeking through the lawsuit not just to get the California measure overturned, but to raise questions about the legality of similar measures that will be on the ballot in Arizona, and perhaps Utah, this fall.

A similar legal challenge to Proposition 209 failed in 1997, but the lawyers behind the new lawsuit say the legal landscape has changed enough since then that they feel they have a good chance of prevailing this time around.