For the past thirty-five years, American higher education has been engaged in a massive social experiment: to determine whether the use of racial preferences in college and graduate school admissions could speed the process of fully integrating American society. Since Bakke,1 universities have often tended to justify affirmative action for its contributions to diverse classrooms and campuses. But the overriding justification for affirmative action has always been its impact on minorities. Few of us would enthusiastically support preferential admission policies if we did not believe they played a powerful, irreplaceable role in giving nonwhites in America access to higher education, entrée to the national elite, and a chance of correcting historic underrepresentations in the leading professions.
The biggest flaw I've seen in reports like this is the assumption that prestige = academic difficulty. The fact that transfer students from low-ranked schools to high-ranked schools tend to stay at the top of the class at their new transfer schools is evidence that more selective schools are not any more rigorous than lower ranked ones.