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Equity and Excellence


Equity and Excellence
In American Higher Education

William G. Bowen, Martin A. Kurzweil, and Eugene M. Tobin In collaboration with Susanne C. Pichler

American higher education has long been recognized as one of the preeminent educational systems in the world, yet today U.S. standing is threatened by two systemic weaknesses—the inadequate pre-collegiate preparation of students from lower-income families and racial minorities, and the underrepresentation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at the nation's most distinguished colleges and universities. Taken together, these two pervasive weaknesses jeopardize the country's levels of educational attainment and productivity, at the same time that they compromise America's commitment to social mobility and fundamental fairness.

To further the complementary goals of excellence and equity, local, state, and federal governments must reinvest in the nation's schools, neighborhoods, and communities in order to rebuild the educational pipeline that supplies higher education, and our wealthiest and most selective colleges and universities should give special consideration to qualified students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds as a complement to race-sensitive admissions.

Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education provides a history of American higher education, discusses the social and economic conditions that shape contemporary governmental and institutional policies, and analyzes the future challenges facing policymakers, educational leaders, parents, and students. The authors propose a broad national policy agenda—stretching from childhood to the college admissions process and reaching across institutional, state, and federal terrain—to strengthen the racial and economic diversity that is essential for an educated citizenry and a democratic society.

2005. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Press.  ISBN: 0813923506

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