Who's Qualified? by Lani Guinier
A New Democracy Forum on the Future of Affirmative Action

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Affirmative action originated as a plan to correct the historical disadvantage of women and people of color-to make the system more fair. Yet, for over twenty years, it has been repeatedly attacked for being unfair to whites, and even un-American.

Guinier and Sturm begin with a critique of affirmative action as it stands now, arguing that a system of selection that determines 'qualification' from test scores and then adds on factors like race and gender doesn't work-either for the people it includes or the people it leaves out. But they go further, asking us to rethink how we evaluate merit.

Marshaling lively examples from education and the workplace, they expose the failure of tests to predict success. They provide evidence that people's success depends on the opportunities they have to perform, and that institutions do best when they are open to unanticipated contributions. Offering a model of selection based on performance, not prediction, the authors' reconception of an old ideal suggests at once a smart business practice and a step toward the promise of democratic opportunity. Paul Osterman, Stephen Steinberg, Peter Sacks, and others respond.

A series of short paperback originals exploring creative solutions to our most urgent national concerns. The series editors (for Boston Review), Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers, aim to foster politically engaged, intellectually honest, and morally serious debate about fundamental issues-both on and off the agenda of conventional politics.

About Lani Guinier

See more books from this Author
Lani Guinier is Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Sturm is professor of law at Columbia Law School.
Published July 8, 2001 by Beacon Press. 128 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Who's Qualified?

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

The authors begin by questioning the “testocracy” that has determined who gains entry to the best schools and companies in recent decades, claiming that standardized tests (such as the SAT) are inaccurate predictors of future success.

| Read Full Review of Who's Qualified?: A New Democ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

While some of the scholars doubt the ubiquity of testing, most attack the validity of tests as screening devices, arguing that they are poor predictors of future performance because they fail to validate desirable but less quantifiable skills, like creativity, flexibility and team-playing.

| Read Full Review of Who's Qualified?: A New Democ...

Rate this book!

Add Review