Peter Schrag

Peter Schrag, a longtime education writer and editor, is the author of Paradise Lost: California's Experience, America's Future and most recently, California: America's High-Stakes Experiment. He is a former editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee.

Recent Articles

Affirmative Actions' California Afterlife

The debate about affirmative action at the University of California isn't over yet.

For all the controversy it has generated, the decision of the University of
California regents to prohibit race and gender preferences in admissions is
likely to become better known for its unintended consequences than for what its
backers said they meant to do.

The Diversity Defense

If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, is social science the last resort of a losing cause? We may not know the answer for some time, but there's no question that some of the heaviest hitters in the fight to preserve race preferences in college admissions are now desperately trying to convert the findings of social research into an argument for what lawyers for the University of Michigan call "the compelling need for diversity in higher education." With the strong backing of the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, they are also trying to prove that some of the traditional measures colleges use in admission—test scores in particular—are biased and unrelated to college success.

Muddy Waters

If anything is certain about The Shape of the River—William G. Bowen's and Derek Bok's massive defense of race preferences in university admissions—it is this: the book will become a primary source in every debate and lawsuit involving affirmative action for the next decade, and maybe longer. It's a book that will launch a thousand footnotes.

When Preferences Disappear

Proposition 209 signals the end of gender and racial favoritism in California, but it may also be the beginning of affirmative action by other means.

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