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, July 30, 2007

More than Meets the Eye in "The Show Me State"

The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative, the group leading a campaign to ban the use of affirmative-action preferences by public colleges and other state and local agencies there, has gone to court to challenge how Missouri's secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, wants the measure summarized on the ballot.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article giving the full back and forth between both sides. In a nutshell, the summary language for the ballot measure proposed by MoCRI says:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit any form of discrimination as an act of the state by declaring:

The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting?

As certified by Ms. Carnahan, a Democrat, this month, the summary language in the ballot petition's title says:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  1. Ban affirmative-action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment, and education; and

  2. Allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal-program-funds eligibility standards as well as preferential treatment for bona fide qualifications based on sex?
One prominent higher-education lawyer privately notes that any college affirmative-action program "designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities" in higher education would run afoul of the limits the Supreme Court placed on such policies as far back as its landmark Bakke decision of 1978. The court specifically held in that ruling that colleges cannot use race-conscious admissions policies to remedy societal discrimination. For discrimination to be the justification, it must be discrimination that the college in question perpetrated. In both the Bakke decision and its Grutter v. Bollinger decision of 2003, the only justification for race-conscious admissions explicitly allowed by the Supreme Court was the desire to foster levels of racial and ethnic diversity that will provide educational benefits to all students. So, in essence, if the proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution bans what Ms. Carnahan says it bans, it bans what the Supreme Court says the U.S. Constitution already bans. Any Missouri college that has is operating a program like the ones she describes is vulnerable to lawsuit unless it has admitted to, or has been found guilty of, discrimination against minorities and women.

Postscript: If Carnahan's name sounds familiar, there is good reason for that. Her father, the late Mel Carnahan, was Missouri's governor from 1993 to 2000, and her mother served in the U.S. Senate. Her grandfather was a Congressman and U.S. ambassador appointed by JFK, and her brother, Russ, now holds a Congresssional seat.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The requirement that applicants be Packer fans still applies

Wisconsin's state attorney general has issued an informal opinion upholding the legality of a new University of Wisconsin system policy directing campuses to take race and ethnicity into account in freshman admissions. Details are available on The Chronicle of Higher Education's blog.

Monday, July 23, 2007

New study suggests historically black colleges have financial payoffs

A new study slated for publication in the Southern Economic Review found that black men who attended historically black colleges and universities in the late 1970s and early 1980s earned more over their lifetime than black men who attended other four-year colleges. The researchers--Bradford F. Mills Jr., a professor of agriculture and applied economics at Virginia Tech, and Elton Mykerezi, a recent graduate of that department--did not find similar payoffs for HBCU attendance for black women, however. Noting that black men face greater wage disparities compared to white people than black women, the researchers suggest that HBCUs may be particularly effective at taking black men from disadvantaged backgrounds and offering them the education and job networks they will need to transcend poverty. Subscribers to The Chronicle can read more here.

Amherst reaches out to the middle class

Amherst College, which has stood out from other selective higher education institutions for its efforts to provide greater access to low-income students, announced recently that it also would be doing more to help the middle class. Under a new policy announced July 19 and reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Amherst will replace all of its loans to students with outright financial-aid grants. Amherst's president, Anthony M. Marx, said he made the change because he was worried that middle-class families were being scared off by Amherst's sticker price of $45,000 annually. Subscribers to The Chronicle can read the full story by clicking here.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

College Board lawyers to colleges: The Supreme Court means business

Lawyers for the College Board have issued guidance to colleges in response to the Supreme Court's decision dealing with the Seattle and Jefferson County school integration plans. The lawyers' bottom line: The latest decisions affirm that the Supreme Court was serious when it said in its 2003 affirmative action rulings that colleges seriously need to consider race-neutral alternatives to race-conscious admissions policies and to make sure their race-conscious policies serve some legally justifiable educational purpose. Read more here. (UPDATE: The College Board and National School Boards Association teamed up to issue guidance to school districts in late September. It is available here.) A few days after the College Board report for colleges came out, the Civil Rights Project issued a report arguing that colleges are unnecessarily scaling back their affirmative-action efforts in response to threats of litigation and pressure from Bush administration officials. Chronicle blog coverage is here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Meet the New Boss

The Washington City Paper has an article this week on the sorts of young people one routinely finds emerging from the America's selective colleges and waltzing into jobs in Congressional offices, K Street lobbying firms, and other hubs of power in the nation's capital. The picture painted by "Members Only," a story on the social networking group Late Night Shots, is not the least bit pretty. If you would rather not be exposed to offensive language, don't click this link to the story. Click here for a summary of a study showing the connection between wealth and power in Washington, and here for a look at the special place Washington holds in that Who's Who of America's super-wealthy, the Social Register.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Education Department and Law School Accreditor Square Off over Diversity

The Education Department has asked the American Bar Association to provide detailed reports on its efforts to require law schools to promote diversity as a condition for certification. Many critics of the certification requirement suspect that it encourages law schools to discriminate against white and Asian students in ways that violate some states' bans on affirmative action and, potentially, the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The Chronicle of Higher Education has the full story.

Not Giving Something for Nothing

A new study by Jonathan Meer, a doctoral candidate in economics at Stanford University, and Harvey S. Rosen, a professor of economics at Princeton University, empirically affirms what many college officials have long suspected: People donate money to colleges because they think it increases their children's chances of being admitted. They're more likely to donate to their college of choice as their children approach college age, and their generosity to that institution plummets once it gives their kid a rejection letter. A Chronicle of Higher Education summary of the study is posted on the Chronicle's news blog.