From an article by Abigail M. Thernstrom in the July issue of Commentary:

The drama that is being played out at the Harvard Law School is but one scene in a lengthy play. The larger story involves almost all institutions of higher education in America. Across the nation, universities and colleges are looking hard for minority faculty. ... The chances for success, however, are slim. ... The pool of potential applicants is so small in part because academically successful black undergraduates -- like their counterparts in law school -- are not generally interested in an academic career. ... Perhaps the main reason is -- to put it simply -- that colleges are taking in black students who are not prepared to meet the college's academic demands. And students who do poorly in college are obviously poor candidates for graduate-school admission. ...

What universities and colleges can do -- and what some are already doing -- is to get involved in education at the level at which it really counts for black students. This means linking up with high schools, tutoring inner-city students, and running special summer programs.

Perhaps the most exciting such program is the one being put in place in Chelsea, Mass. by Boston University. The university has been invited to manage the public-school system for an experimental 10 years, and it plans not only to alter the learning and teaching environment in the schools themselves but also in the home. The program includes adult literacy training, seminars on parenting, classes for teenage mothers to teach life-coping skills, and prenatal health care -- all of which will help students come to school ready to learn.