Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

Equal Opportunity in Higher Education The Past and Future of California’s Proposition 209

Edited by Eric Grodsky and Michal Kurlaender, foreword by Robert Birgeneau, introduction by Christopher Edley, Jr.
paper, 300 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-934742-72-3
Price: $32.00

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Equal Opportunity in Higher Education examines issues pertaining to equal opportunity—affirmative action, challenges to it, and alternatives for improving opportunities for underrepresented groups—in higher education today.


This volume provides a comprehensive examination of the consequences and implications of challenges to affirmative action for racial equity and diversity in public higher education. Although focused on California’s Proposition 209, the volume offers useful insights for public and institutional policy makers in other states, as well as for education researchers. — Laura W. Perna, professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

A thorough and masterful treatment of an important and complex subject. What it chronicles is the first step in the gradual asphyxiation of race-based affirmative action. The book represents an extraordinary blending of social science, legal, and policy perspectives. It illustrates a skillful use of administrative data by an impressive array of scholars and day-to-day practitioners. There are important lessons here, not only for higher education but for the broader American public. — Thomas J. Espenshade, professor of sociology, Princeton University

The book does a nice job juxtaposing research with important perspectives on policy to give a rich, insightful examination of what happens when universities are not allowed to use race in their deliberations. Of course, the answer is complicated given the complex nature of race in America and the admissions process. This type of nuanced analysis is needed in what are sure to be future debates about affirmative action. — Bridget Terry Long, professor of education and economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education

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About the Editors

Eric Grodsky is associate professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota. In his substantive work, Grodsky seeks to understand the dimensions and causes of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequality in educational achievement, college attendance, and completion. Grodsky has published his work in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, and Social Forces, in addition to other venues.

Michal Kurlaender is associate professor at the School of Education at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on education policy and evaluation, in particular, the causes and consequences of educational inequality at various stages of the educational attainment process. She is currently investigating policies and practices aimed at improving college access, persistence, and degree completion. Kurlaender’s work has been published in a variety of academic and policy venues.

Table of Contents (PDF)

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