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 31, 2007

Poll Finds Tensions Between Minority Groups

A new poll of black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans concludes that there are "serious tensions among these ethnic groups, including mistrust and significant stereotyping," even as substantial majorities of each group perceive a need for minority members to set aside their differences and work together on issues affecting their communities.

According to a press release accompanying the poll's findings, 44% of Hispanics and 47% of Asians say they are “generally afraid of African Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime.” Meanwhile, 46% of Hispanics and 52% of African Americans believe “most Asian business owners do not treat them with respect.” And half of African Americans feel threatened by Latin American immigrants because “they are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the Black community.”

Moreover, the three groups seem more trusting of whites than of each other, the release says. The poll found that 61% of Hispanics, 54% of Asians and 47% of African Americans would rather do business with whites than members of the other two groups.

A solid majority of the Hispanic respondents strongly agreed with the propositions that all Americans have an equal opportunity to succeed and that people who work hard will get ahead. Black respondents had much less faith in equality of opportunity and the American dream, while Asian Americans were in the middle.

A Prestigious Award for Political Coverage

The Chronicle of Higher Education has won the Utne Independent Press Award for best political coverage for 2007, a year in which Peter Schmidt headed up its Government and Politics section as deputy editor. In winning the award, the Chronicle beat out The American Prospect, Governing, The Nation, and The New Republic. The judges at the Utne Reader said the Chronicle "combines grade-A reportage with sharp, smart (dare we say, non­-academic?) prose­, to make a seemingly specialized beat both accessible and relevant to the broadest of audiences." A desire to make complex material accessible to a broad audience also underlies Peter Schmidt's writing in Color and Money.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Harvard's New Aid Policy May Be Better News for the Wealthy than the Poor

A new essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education asks some tough questions about the financial-aid policy that Harvard University recently announced with great fanfare. Harvard heralded the policy as "ensuring greater affordability for middle- and upper-middle-income families." But Donald E. Heller, the director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University, notes in his essay that many of the students who will benefit come from families making $120,000 to $180,000, placing them within the top 5 to 15 percent of all Americans in terms of their income. By any definition, such students are "upper-income," Heller says. And if being able to attend Harvard at lower cost drives many more of them to come knocking on its doors, the better ones will likely be elbowing out applicants from humbler backgrounds. Subscribers to the Chronicle can read the full essay here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Two New Reports Show How Low-Income Families Have Trouble Planning for College

Two reports released this week shed light on how the children of parents who are poor or never went to college suffer when it comes to planning for higher education. A National Center for Education Statistics report, summarized here on the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog, describes how such students find it hard to obtain reliable information that can help them decide whether and where to attend college. A separate report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy, summarized for Chronicle of Higher Education subscribers here, says the families of such students often fail to plan for their children's college education until it it too late. Parents should give serious thought to how they will finance college education, and what high-school classes their children need to take to become college-ready, while the kids are still in middle school. Unfortunately, many fail to take such steps until their children are high-school juniors or seniors.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Peter Schmidt Analyzes Harvard's New Effort to Help Middle-Class Students for Boston Public Radio

WBUR, National Public Radio's Boston affiliate, turned to Peter Schmidt to make sense of Harvard's new effort to make college more affordable for middle and upper-middle-class students. You can hear the interview here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oklahoma Measure Limiting Affirmative Action Appears to Have Cleared a Hurdle

The backers of a proposal to amend Oklahoma's state constitution to limit affirmative action say they are confident they have gathered enough signatures to get their measure on the ballot. Their proposed ballot initiative--similar to referenda already passed by voters in California, Michigan, and Washington State--would bar public colleges and other state agencies from granting preferences based on race, ethnicity, or gender. For more details, see the Chronicle of Higher Education blog, where Color and Money author Peter Schmidt broke the story.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What High Schools Feed the Top Colleges? A Wall Street Journal Analysis Holds a Few Surprises

A Wall Street Journal analysis of enrollment data from eight highly prestigious colleges shows that overseas schools and science- and math-focused public magnet schools now rank alongside New England prep schools and New York private schools as the institutions' leading feeders. A Chronicle of Higher Education synopsis of the Journal story is available here. The Journal's list of the top feeders of the eight colleges studied--Chicago, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Pomona, Princeton, Swarthmore, and Williams--is available here. Check out the school with the 13th best success rate in terms of the share of students it sends on to one of these colleges. Its location? South Korea. UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal subsequently published a correction admitting major flaws in its methodology and saying additional corrections may be possible. Although the story's bottom-line conclusions generally hold true, the accompanying rankings should be viewed as a work in progress.

Advocates of Diversity in the Legal Profession Face One Major Obstacle: Law Schools

When leading advocates of diversity in the legal profession held a recent panel discussion in Washington, they seemed fairly confident they had found ways to prod law firms to hire and promote more blacks and Hispanics. They seemed much less certain of their ability to push law schools to diversify their enrollments, mainly because the schools face considerable pressure from the publishers of law-school rankings to take in only applicants with high LSAT scores. Click here to read full Chronicle of Higher Education coverage and a lively back-and-forth among the readers of its blog.

International Assessment of Scientific Literacy Shows How Racial Gaps Hurt U.S. Competitiveness

The results of an international assessment of scientific literacy among 15-year-olds show that United States ranks below 16 of the 30 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation, and 8 of 27 other nations or "jurisdictions" (such as Hong Kong) that administered the test. When the test results for the United States are broken down by race and ethnicity, however, a much more complex picture emerges. White 15-year-olds in the U.S. did fairly well, with their average score being below just 30 OECD nations' (Finland, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the Netherlands) and three non-OECD nations' or jurisdictions' (Hong Kong, Taipei, and Estonia.) Black U.S. 15-year-olds, by contrast, were outscored by every OECD nation, including Mexico, and 19 of the 27 other nations and jurisdictions that administered the tests. Hispanic students were outscored by all but two of the OECD nations. The average score for Asian Americans was just a hair below the OECD average. A Chronicle article on the international test is available to subscribers here.

Group Plans Web Site Offering Alternative to College Rankings

The Education Conservancy, an organization opposed to commercial influences on higher education, appears to be well on its way to raising $400,000 to set up a free Web site to help students find the right college without relying on published rankings. Interestingly, much of the money has come from institutions that fare quite well in the U.S. News & World Report annual college rankings--the very contest that the Education Conservancy is most focused on rendering irrelevant. As described in a Chronicle of Higher Education article (available to subscribers here), preliminary plans call for the Web site to feature a questionnaire and diagnostic exercises to help students determine what colleges are the best fits for them.