The author seeks to shift the traditional focus of the affirmative action debate from race to class. With the Boston Latin School as an example, he argues that, under certain circumstances, a shift in an admission policy based on preferences from race to class will maintain academic standards while increasing minority representation; it will also expand opportunity for economically underprivileged youths who have succeeded academically despite the obstacles they face. A focus on class rather than race offers both sides of the affirmative action debate a philosophy that can be reconciled with their views on race-based affirmative action. In certain situations, class-based affirmative action in the context of school admission offers a practical, successful alternative to the debate that has been raging for years.



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