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, October 29, 2007

Some College Leaders Are Questioning the Value of Merit-Based Aid

The Chronicle of Higher Education blog reports that at least some colleges' leaders are beginning to ask whether their institutions should be spending less on merit-based scholarships and more on aid for needy students. At a recent panel discussion held at the College Board's annual conference, admissions deans expressed skepticism about whether merit-based awards really entice that many students to enroll at their institutions, and said identifying "merit" among the members of a highly qualified applicant pool can seem like an arbitrary exercise. Perhaps every bit as interesting as the Chronicle blog's coverage of the panel discussion, available here, are the ensuing comments from readers. Upper-middle-class parents piped up that they, too, find their kids' college tuition damned hard to afford.

NCAA Reaches Agreement with University of North Dakota over "Fighting Sioux" Mascot

The National Collegiate Athletic Association and the University of North Dakota have settled a lawsuit over the university's "Fighting Sioux" mascot, The Chronicle of Higher Education blog reports. The agreement offers the university a waiver from an NCAA policy barring American Indian imagery deemed hostile and abusive if, within the next three years, it gains approval of the mascot from at least two Sioux tribes with a significant presence in the state. (To read the Chronicle blog's coverage, with links to the NCAA's announcement, past coverage of the lawsuit, and a lively discussion by Chronicle readers, click here.) The Washington Redskins could not be heard making any comment on the NCAA agreement Sunday as they lay buried under the New England Patriots, 52-7.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Scheduling change for Nov. 19 event at Borders Books in Washington DC

Due to circumstances beyond his control, the time of Peter Schmidt's November 19 appearance at Borders Books at 18 and L NW, Washington DC, has been changed.

He is now scheduled to appear at Borders at 12:30 pm that day, for the lunch hour crowd.

Please disregard the 6:30 pm time mentioned in the previous blog post.

Sorry if this has caused any inconvenience.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Author of Color and Money makes two Washington DC appearances in November

Granted, being a resident of our nation's capital, Peter Schmidt makes "a Washington DC appearance" every time he steps out of his apartment to grab the morning paper. But metropolitan Washington residents interested in the book Color and Money may be glad to learn he has something a little more substantial to offer. On Thursday, November 1, beginning at 5:30 pm for the press and 6pm for the public, he will be chatting about his book and signing copies at the annual National Press Club holiday book fair. Then on Monday, November 19th, at 12:30 pm, he will be reading, discussing, and signing Color and Money at Borders Books at 18th and L Streets NW.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Book-related news: An extensive blog interview and more positive reviews

The blog "Nat Turner's Revenge" has just posted an extensive interview with Peter Schmidt in which he shoots left, shoots right, discusses media elitism, offers to buy bourbon, and recalls being told to eat doggy-doo. You can read it here. Meanwhile, Color and Money is the subject of recent reviews by the CampusProgress blog and by the Charleston Post and Courier. And The Chronicle of Higher Education, where Peter Schmidt oversees the Government and Politics section, has been nominated for an Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. Details are available here.
UPDATE: The blog Mirror on America has posted a review of Color and Money, available here.
For those of you interested in what folks on the right think of Color and Money, see this review by George Leef of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. A review for the Washington Times
by Martin Morse Wooster was far more positive, calling the book "fair, balanced, and judicious." To read it, however, you will need to have access to the Lexis-Nexis search engine or pay a few dollars to the Washington Times Web site's archive service. (If you plan to quote from the Washington Times review in any way, you should also see the letter that Peter Schmidt wrote to the Times to point out a serious factual error the review contained.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sizing Up Ward Connerly's Next Five Targets: Difficulty Level--Easy

Peter Schmidt reports in The Chronicle of Higher Education on the next five targets selected by Ward Connerly, the prominent affirmative-action critic, for ballot measures banning public colleges and other state agencies from granting preference based on race, ethnicity, or gender. Schmidt's conclusion? Connerly should have little trouble picking off four: Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. If he gets past some legal wrangling with state officials and affirmative-action supporters in Missouri over how his ballot petition there is worded, he is likely to prevail in that state as well. A link to Schmidt's story, accessible to both subscribers and nonsubscribers, is available here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Survey of College Professors Reveals Mixed Feelings on Affirmative Action in Admissions

A major study of faculty attitudes released last month has been billed in an article by David Glenn of The Chronicle of Higher Education as "arguably the best-designed survey of American faculty beliefs since the early 1970s." It's doubtful that the study's findings will offer much comfort to advocates of affirmative action in academe.

Of those college instructors who expressed an opinion of affirmative action in college admissions, only a very slim majority--50.7 percent--support it. Moreover, that 50.7 percent figure was arrived at by adding to the 11 percent who strongly favor it another 39.7 percent who only favor it somewhat.

On the other side, 17.4 percent of the college instructors expressing a view on the matter said they strongly oppose affirmative action in admissions, while 31.9 percent said they oppose it somewhat.

Considering that only 9.2 percent of college instructors in the survey were classified by the researchers as conservative, and just 20.4 percent voted for George W. Bush in 2004, it appears that opposition to affirmative action in the professoriate transcends political party and stretches well into the ideological middle ground.

On other questions related to race, most faculty members leaned further left. Among some key findings of the study conducted by the sociologists Neil Gross of Harvard University and Solon Simmons of George Mason University :

  • 84.6 percent agreed with the assertion that a lack of educational opportunities is a cause of racial inequality between blacks and whites.
  • 53.6 percent cited ongoing racial discrimination as a cause of racial inequality
  • 18 percent agreed with the assertion that "most African Americans just don't have the motivation or will power to pull themselves out of poverty."
  • Excluding respondents who expressed no opinion on the matter, 28.2 percent strongly agreed that the racial and ethnic diversity of the nation should be more strongly represented in the undergraduate curriculum, while 43.5 percent agreed somewhat, 21.3 percent disagreed somewhat, and 7.1 percent strong disagreed.
One of the study's other findings is of interest in light of the furor that former Harvard president Lawrence Summers aroused by speculating that differences in ability might explain the paucity of female math, science, and engineering professors. When asked their own take on why there are so few women teaching college students in those fields, 24.5 percent who answered the question blamed discrimination, 1 percent blamed differences in ability, and 74.5 percent expressed the belief that it is because men and women have different interests.

Can You Get Sued for Fighting Those Who Fight for "the Fighting Sioux"?

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the University of North Dakota has found a new category of people deemed in need of protection from discrimination: students who want to keep the university's Fighting Sioux nickname.

In a September 24 memorandum to five top administrators of the university, Sally J. Page, UND's affirmative action officer, warned that academic departments and programs that publicly oppose the nickname may be creating an unwelcome environment for those students who like it, and may be setting the university up for federal civil-rights lawsuits from fans of the nickname who feel discriminated against for their support of it.

What prompted the memo was a Sept. 22 ad in the Grand Forks Herald, signed by four university departments and about 20 university programs, urging that the controversial nickname be dropped. The Chronicle story on the controversy (available to regular subscribers and temporary pass buyers here) quotes several faculty members who oppose the nickname as offensive to American Indians as shocked they would be the ones being accused of possible discrimination.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Taking the Temperature of the College Admissions Field

The National Association for College Admissions Counseling held its annual conference in Austin, Tex., last week, and Chronicle of Higher Education reporters were on hand to cover the latest developments and trends in the field. Many in attendance expressed frustration with the SAT and ACT--partly because relying on them causes colleges to favor applicants from privileged backgrounds--and are seeking alternatives. The organization has created a Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission to examine, among other things, the effects of the test preparation industry. (Chronicle subscribers can read more here.) A report issued during the conference noted that despite the recent decisions by some high-profile colleges (including Harvard and Princeton Universities and the University of Virginia) to abolish their early-decision admissions programs, more students are applying early-action and early-decision over all. The report also noted that the share of colleges saying class rank is important has declined from about a third to less than a quarter over the past 10 years, while the share saying application essays are important rose from 18 percent to 28 percent. (Chronicle subscribers can read more coverage here. The full report is available here. ) The Chronicle blog, available to non-subscribers, has this story on how many upper-middle-class families are hiring independent college admissions counselors to give their kids an edge.