Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Georgia Colleges to Resume Standardized Test Requirements for Admitted Students

Georgia public colleges and universities will start requiring standardized test scores for admission starting in Spring 2022, the University System of Georgia announced.

Georgia’s public universities paused SAT and ACT test requirements for all of 2021 due to COVID-19 because the pandemic resulted in several cancelled test dates, USG said in an a news release.

Colleges still considered test scores in admission decisions if a student submitted them.

Private schools that are not subject to decisions made by USG said they will not be requiring standardized test scores throughout 2022.

Advocates for getting rid of test score requirements indefinitely were optimistic that the pandemic would lead to this feat.

Bob Schaeffer, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing said in April:

Schools that waived ACT/SAT score requirements during the pandemic generally saw more applicants, better academically qualified academics, and more diversity of all sorts. Now, most are extending those policies for at least another year.

Schaeffer alleges that students coming from wealthier households have an unfair advantage when it comes to college admissions testing.

SAT or ACT test scores are required at the majority of colleges and universities. The exceptions being Middle Georgia State University, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, College of Coastal Georgia, East Georgia State, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Highlands College, Gordon State College, South Georgia State College, Georgia Southern University’s Liberty campus and Georgia State University’s Perimeter College.

Some schools, such as Georgia Highlands College, require placement tests for enrollment. However, the SAT or ACT can serve as a replacement for the placement tests. The placement tests were not required during the coronavirus pandemic.

The minimum test scores for admission to Georgia institutions is typically 920 on the SAT test or 17 on the ACT. Some schools with more selective admissions policies require higher scores for enrollment.

The average ACT score for a Georgia student is 21.4 and the average SAT score is around 1050.


University of California System Will No Longer Consider SAT, ACT Scores for Admissions

The nine campuses of the University of California (UC) system will no longer consider standardized testing scores as part of the admission process beginning this fall.

The change is the result of a legal settlement (pdf) of a lawsuit brought by groups that claimed that the traditional SAT and ACT tests are racist.

Under the settlement, the university, which enrolls some 225,000 undergraduate students, said it won’t consider SAT or ACT scores sent along with admissions applications until 2025. The university further stated that it had no current plan to consider the scores after 2025.

The settlement specifies that the university can still use SAT and ACT scores to determine course placement after the students are accepted. But the nine campuses will no longer use the test scores to determine how to award scholarships.

The lawsuit was filed against the university on Dec. 10, 2019, by several students and groups, including Chinese for Affirmative Action, College Access Plan, College Seekers, Community Coalition, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Little Manila Rising. The Compton Unified School District filed a similar lawsuit on the same day. The two cases were subsequently merged.

The original complaints claimed that SAT and ACT tests serve as a metric of wealth and race, rather than a predictor of college success.

“The mere presence of the discriminatory metric of SAT and ACT scores in the UC admissions process precludes admissions officers from according proper weight to meaningful criteria, such as academic achievement and personal qualities, and requires them instead to consider criteria that act as a proxy for wealth and race and thus concentrate privilege on UC campuses,” one of the two complaints (pdf) alleged.

On Aug. 31, 2020, the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda, ordered the university to stop using the test results for admissions or scholarship decisions while the lawsuit was pending. The university appealed the decision and the appeal remains unresolved.

As part of the settlement, the University of California system will pay $1.25 million in attorney fees to the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs.

College Board, the developer of the SAT test, and ACT both told The Epoch Times that the racial disparities in test scores aren’t a function of the tests themselves, but rather a symptom of broader educational issues.

“The SAT itself is not a racist instrument. Every question is rigorously reviewed for evidence of bias, and any question that could favor one group over another is discarded,” College Board told The Epoch Times. “Today’s SAT is an achievement test that measures what is taught in school and what students need to know to be prepared for college. Performance differences across groups of students reflect an unequal K–12 system. That’s why the SAT should only be considered in the context of where students live and go to school, and an SAT score should never be a veto on a student.”

“As always, we support institutional autonomy to make the difficult decisions that ultimately benefit individual systems, schools, and their students,” ACT told The Epoch Times. “That said, we work diligently to ensure the ACT is not biased against any group of students, and research consistently shows that test scores are a valid predictor of college success, overall and in particular for students from underserved backgrounds.

“Current score gaps between groups are unacceptable. Though these gaps are not caused by the test, ACT is committed to joining forces with those who seek transformative change to achieve equitable learning outcomes for all students.”

SAT and ACT scores have been a mainstay of the college admissions process for decades. Opponents of the tests’ use for admission argue that students of certain races score lower on average than other races. Proponents say standardized tests offer an equal playing field, since all students take the same test.


How Biden Aims to Take Critical Race Theory to the Next Level in Your School

If the Biden administration gets its way, the federal government will soon be alternatively bribing and threatening every school district in the country to push divisive and damaging curricula on race in the classroom.

It would come courtesy of a proposed rule from the Department of Education, available for public comment until May 19. In announcing the rule, the Department cited the historically debunked 1619 Project from the New York Times, as well as the “scholarship” of Ibram X. Kendi, whose many radical arguments include a suggestion that every law in the country should be subject to the approval of an unelected board of “antiracist” academics.

But the rule’s consequences would be more than academic. It would infuse critical race theory into the whole of the federal government’s primary governing law concerning K-12 schools, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And if Congress standardizes state civics metrics, the rule will help shape the content of it (and do it with a billion-dollar-a-year cash infusion), unwittingly moved forward in a bipartisan way by Republicans.

Initially, the rule would apply only to a couple of small grant programs. But it wouldn’t stop there. Its introduction would follow a pattern similar to that of other unpopular national curriculum efforts, such as Common Core, which gained entrée to classrooms all over America through a carrot-and-stick approach.

Critical race theory is already engendering strong pushback from parents and state legislatures, incensed by an ever-growing list of outrages.

In New York City, parents lamented that white students as young as ten years old are learning that they are perpetuating the problem of racism and that their families are racist. In North Carolina, a teachers’ conference focused on “whiteness” and “disrupting texts.” In Oregon, teachers were encouraged to take “ethnomathematics” in order to “dismantl[e] racism in mathematics.” In California, teachers were taught to hide radical left-wing indoctrination from students’ families.

Now Washington proposes to do another end-run around parents through Department of Education bureaucracy, one that will add jet fuel to the already-burgeoning industry of radicals, grifters, and consultants all intent on hocking an ideology that drives a wedge between students of different backgrounds and divorce students of color from any feelings of patriotism for their country.

States are already responding to teachers’ union-led school closures against scientific advice by proposing school choice programs. No fewer than thirty state legislatures are considering new and expanded options that would empower parents to take their education dollars to whatever learning option best suits their children.

It’s imperative that parents be freed financially from dependence on public schools that will be tempted to take the grants offered under this proposed rule. However, school choice will be effective if parents are involved—and vigilant, because as recent events have demonstrated, private schools are not immune to this pernicious ideology.

In a recent open letter, Paul Rossi, a school teacher at a private school in New York City, walked through how his school has implemented “antiracist” teachings and how those teachings are impacting children. As Rossi explains, critical race theory and its calls to “undo history . . . lacks any kind of limiting principle and pairs any allegation of bigotry with a priori guilt.”

Or take the case of Brearley parent Andrew Gutmann. Brearley is a tiny $54,000-per-year private school that now requires parents to sign an “antiracism pledge” prior to admission. Gutmann recently pulled his daughter from the school and penned a scathing letter on the pernicious nature of critical race theory. “I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs,” he said in his letter.

The fight is everywhere. Critical race theory is turning Americans against one another by weaponizing what used to be the fantasies of tenured professors in dimly lit offices of the ivory tower, now transmitting it through colleges of education to teachers who carry it into the K-12 classroom. The Biden administration now plans to supercharge that effort through federal rules and regulations, access to billions in taxpayer funding, and the imprimatur of the federal government.

Children deserve better than to have the emotional distress of critical race theory inflicted upon them. Parents must make their voices heard at the more than fourteen thousand school boards across the country. Taxpayers must shout “no” to their hard-earned money being used to further this pernicious ideology. And people must have the courage to speak out against this great threat to the greatest country in the world.


Critical race theory received a stunning rebuke at the polls in local Texas elections last week in a suburb of Dallas.

“On one side, progressives argued that curriculum and disciplinary changes were needed to make all children feel safe and welcome in Carroll, a mostly white but quickly diversifying school district,” NBC News reported. “On the other, conservatives in Southlake rejected the school diversity plan as an effort to indoctrinate students with a far-left ideology that, according to some, would institutionalize discrimination against white children and those with conservative Christian values.”

NBC News portrayed the Southlake elections on May 1 as “bitterly divided.” As many have noted, it may have been bitter, but it wasn’t divided.

About 70% of the vote went against a whole slate of candidates—from the mayor’s race to school board and City Council—who supported a “diversity plan” that pushed critical theory on students and faculty, and turnout for the election was high. That’s not a “divided” election; it’s a landslide.

One of the newly elected Texas school board members, Hannah Smith, went on the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” show on Tuesday to explain how she and others mobilized to fight the “false narrative” that their community was racist.

“When we started this battle last August, we paired up with like-minded parents around the country,” Smith told show co-host Steve Doocy. “I was on conference calls with parents from all over America who are fighting the same thing, so it’s important for people to know that they can band together and that they can make change.”

Smith noted that she and others worked to educate voters about what critical race theory is and how destructive it would be. Then, she and other members of the community made public records requests to ascertain how extensively those ideas were being propagated behind closed doors.

“We used [Freedom of Information Act requests] to really find out what our district was doing, and that empowered us with information that we could then use to fight against it,” she said.

What’s important about this rebuke of critical race theory and its advocates is not just that the doctrine was unpopular, but how parents and other opponents organized to stop it.

It raises the larger question: Is this just temporary good news or the beginning of a larger movement?

Critical race theory began being implemented in the Carroll Independent School District in earnest in 2018, when two high schoolers there used a racial slur on the social media platform TikTok. The students apologized, but this single incident began a crusade to create a racial reckoning in the community.

In response, officials at the Carroll school district released a massive Cultural Competence Action Plan.

Conservative columnist Dana Loesch laid out in Newsweek how that plan appeared to do little to stop racism, and instead force-fed students an absurd program based on left-wing ideological goals. It required students to go through “diversity and inclusion training” to graduate, it committed to weeding out “microaggressions,” and it introduced critical race theory into the curriculum.

The plan included all the critical elements of the woke managerial revolution happening across the country.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion” bureaucrats are empowered to root out heresy wherever they find it—and given that their livelihoods depend on it, they will surely find it whether it’s there or not.

It’s clear that many of America’s elite institutions see critical race theory and related ideas, such as “anti-racism,” as the cure for what ails us. America is portrayed as a country permanently attached to white supremacy from the beginning, whether it knows or acknowledges that or not.

So, what exactly is critical race theory?

My colleagues Mike Gonzalez and Jonathan Butcher explained what it is succinctly in an excellent paper for The Heritage Foundation, of which The Daily Signal is the news outlet.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life—and do so with a degree of persistence that has helped CRT impact all of American life.

CRT underpins identity politics, an ongoing effort to reimagine the United States as a nation riven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization.

In entertainment, as well as the education and workforce sectors of society, CRT is well-established, driving decision-making according to skin color—not individual value and talent.

This is not “sensitivity training,” as President Joe Biden sought to portray it in his run for office.

If anything, it is teaching Americans to hate each other, to see fellow citizens as the “other,” and to give license to discrimination in the name of racial justice.

That was, at its core, the thesis of The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning—but factually dubious—1619 Project.

It’s also a critical element of the “great awokening.”

Critical race theory has been promoted by corporate America and government agencies, on college campuses and in K-12 classrooms, and “Zoom rooms,” or whatever else they might call our cloistered COVID-19 spaces.

The intellectual point man has been Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University and author of “How to Be an Antiracist.” He’s the most prominent proponent of so-called anti-racism, which is largely just racial discrimination in the name of equity.

Kendi’s ideas, if they actually were to come to fruition, would end self-government in America and would create totalitarian authority invested in government officials every bit as absolute as they were in the former Soviet Union.

Kendi is taken very seriously by serious people, and he gets paid sizable sums of money to advise schools on how to adopt his toxic ideas.

Of course, the Biden administration is also eager to help the critical theory revolution along from the federal level.

That’s why the revolt in a Dallas suburb is so significant. Americans are becoming aware of this now pervasive ideology and are fighting back.

A single set of elections doesn’t quite signal a full turnaround on critical race theory and the neo-segregation that’s been on the rise in America, but it does show that it can be stopped at the local level if enough people are aware of it and organize.

The Biden administration may be doing its best to foist these ideas on American students for the next generation. But what the Texas elections show is that in their attempted takeover of American education, proponents of critical race theory will find at every school board meeting a group of angry parents armed with information about their radical agenda and willing to step up and fight back.

Given the immense power critical theory and intersectionality hold across America’s elite institutions, this set of Texas elections is a minor victory.

But it also provides a blueprint for how fed-up Americans can begin their own long march to take those institutions back from the woke.




Monday, May 24, 2021

California Leftists Try to Cancel Math Class

If California education officials have their way, generations of students may not know how to calculate an apartment’s square footage or the area of a farm field, but the “mathematics” of political agitation and organizing will be second nature to them. Encouraging those gifted in math to shine will be a distant memory.

This will be the result if a proposed mathematics curriculum framework, which would guide K-12 instruction in the Golden State’s public schools, is approved by California’s Instructional Quality Commission in meetings this week and in August and ratified by the state board of education later this year.

The framework recommends eight times that teachers use a troubling document, “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction: Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction.” This manual claims that teachers addressing students’ mistakes forthrightly is a form of white supremacy. It sets forth indicators of “white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom,” including a focus on “getting the right answer,” teaching math in a “linear fashion,” requiring students to “show their work” and grading them on demonstrated knowledge of the subject matter. “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false,” the manual explains. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates ‘objectivity.’ ” Apparently, that’s also racist.

The framework itself rejects preparing students to take Algebra I in eighth grade, a goal reformers have sought since the 1990s. Students in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan master introductory algebra in eighth grade or even earlier.


Publish or Perish Can Become Publish AND Perish

One of the most striking developments in collegiate life since World War II has been the increased emphasis in the academy on publishing and research. Teaching loads until recently were falling, and at the highest ranked schools the senior faculty often teach but one class a semester, with frequent leaves for major research projects.

One of the things quite striking to me is how incomprehensible the typical academic paper sounds today to more than 99% of the population compared with what was the case in say 1925 or 1950. In that earlier period, an educated lay person could, for example, understand the gist of most articles in the American Economic Review with little or no economics; that is not true today. Scholars strive to sound profound and think that using big words or flaunting their knowledge of esoteric technical procedures or statistical techniques makes them somehow better, more educated scholars. Even some professors of English literature, from whom we might expect lyrically beautiful and lucid discourse, often write using pseudo-sophisticated academic drivel incomprehensible to those outside today’s literary cognoscenti.

In the popular press, writers strive to be understood, quoted, and, above all, read by large numbers. In academia, almost the opposite is true. Academics rejoice in their obscurity amongst the broader public. There are exceptions to be sure. Far more people read and ponder my writings for Forbes or the Wall Street Journal than my serious articles in outlets like the Journal of Economic History or Public Choice. I constantly hear from readers “you are one of the few academic economists I can understand.”

Now comes four University of Arizona academics understanding all this who have written a paper for the Journal of Marketing. They analyzed 1,640 papers appearing in marketing journals, concluding that the more abstract and technical papers are less cited in places like Google Scholar than the more straightforward written ones readily understood by readers. They say that academics suffer from a “curse of knowledge,” forgetting non-specialists are often unfamiliar with some terminology or techniques used by highly specialized scholars. If anything, I suspect the problem is worse outside the field of marketing, in many of the humanities, social sciences and, of course, the hard sciences.

Going back several hundred years, the great contributors to advancing our civilization tended to dabble in many disciplines and were not ultra-specialized. Leonardo Da Vinci, when not painting masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, was building putative flying machines or pursuing other quasi-scientific pursuits. Isaac Newton was both a great mathematician AND physicist. Adam Smith wrote an insightful treatise in philosophy before he wrote the first great book in economics.

When I began teaching, professors identified themselves primarily with their university: “I am at Ohio University where I teach economics.” Today, with hyper-specialization, they more likely identify themselves with their profession: “I am an economist,” possibly parenthetically adding “I teach at Ohio University.” The “curse of knowledge” is a consequence of identifying too closely with a narrow group of academics, usually a subset of a broader discipline.

I am not a critic of specialization: indeed, it is a necessary condition for many advances in human knowledge of modern times. At the same time, however, it not only has made communication more difficult because of the language problem identified by the Arizona scholars, but it explains why today’s colleges and universities often cannot agree on what is a “general education,” an indispensable body of knowledge that all college educated persons should possess. In four years, students cannot even have a cursory expertise in all the major areas of knowledge. What is especially vital, and what can be left for a small number of specialists?

Resolving that question often embroils schools in intense controversy, especially since campus influence and resources are thereby impacted. Many schools, rather than fight a civil war, seek compromise: students shall take X number of courses from each of Y number of broad fields of knowledge (i.e., “natural science and mathematics,” “social sciences.”) A few schools have students read “the great books” that influenced our civilization’s development. Some others say, “here’s a menu: take whatever you want as long as you pay your bills.” Variety is the spice of life.


Asra Nomani: Critical Race Theory Indoctrination in Schools Dehumanizes Asian Families

Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and parent in Fairfax County, Virginia, said she never before experienced the kind of prejudice and discrimination she has encountered over the last year from those pushing critical race theory in her local school district.

In an interview with Epoch TV’s “American Thought Leaders,” Nomani said she was “horrified” by the months-long “assault on Asian American families” at the county’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, one of the nation’s top-achieving schools, where her son was a senior.

“It just all began with an email in June 2020,” Nomani told host Jan Jekielek. In that email, which was sent to mostly immigrant families, the school’s principal said they need to check their “privileges” in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“And we were just shocked, because this was a woman who has gone to our Lunar New Year celebrations and our Diwali parties, and she knows that we are families from all across the world,” said Nomani, whose Muslim family immigrated to the United States from India when she was four years old. “They are amazing, amazing families who have endured a lot to get to America, and the fact that our kids go to this school doesn’t put us in this vaulted category of the privilege of society.”

“We were just normal people trying to make ends meet, trying to keep our kids healthy, trying to make sure that they get a good night’s rest. It was like a knife to the heart,” she continued. “I just thought to myself, ‘Wow, like, overnight we just lost our humanity.’ That really made me angry, because that’s not OK.”

The Fairfax County school board, according to Nomani, has since proceeded to introduce a series of changes, such as replacing a so-called “colonial” mascot, dropping the name of Thomas Jefferson, and replacing the race-blind admissions process with race-based lotteries and quotas in an effort to make the demographics of the student population better match that of the county.

“It was racial demographics,” she said. “It was that we didn’t have enough underrepresented minorities, meaning blacks and Hispanics, and we had too many Asians.”

Parents need to be clear that those changes are implemented to indoctrinate young children with critical race theory, Nomani warned, dismissing a narrative that there is no critical race theory outside colleges, where it is only taught from a legal perspective.

“Do you think we’re that stupid? We know that you’re not teaching the pedagogy of critical race theory. What you’re teaching is the end product—that there’s oppressed and oppressors, that we have a hierarchy of suffering, and you have to find yourself on this,” she explained. “It’s propaganda, flat out propaganda.”

“This is not just theory,” she added. “This has now become worksheets in classrooms, where kids literally have to fill out their oppression, where they fit on the oppression scale. They get segregated—can you just imagine? It’s this 21st century and we are now segregating children based on race.”

Nomani, who identifies as a liberal, urged parents, regardless of their political affiliation, to join forces against the indoctrination effort she describes as racist and inhumane.

“This is my liberal community that’s pushing out this racism, and I’m going to really call them out on it, because they’re just doing something that is so wrong and immoral,” she said. “We have to keep as our North Star, whether you’re liberal, conservative, independent, whatever, wherever you are, our North Star of humanity, and to stay focused on that.”


UK: Religious worship in schools may be scrapped and replaced with inclusive assemblies covering 'moral and social' education

Inclusive assemblies to replace compulsory religious worship in English schools will be considered by Parliament.

The Education (Assemblies) Bill proposes to scrap the requirement for daily mandatory collective worship in schools. Instead, assemblies to develop the ‘spiritual, moral, social, and cultural education’ of all pupils would be held.

Ruth Wareham of Humanists UK said required ‘The daily acts of Christian worship is simply not appropriate for the diverse, multi-belief society that the UK is today’.

She added that faith schools, a third of those in England, would not be affected.

The Bill has been tabled by Baroness Burt, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG), with support from Humanists UK.

Humanists UK education campaigns manager, Ruth Wareham, said yesterday: ‘The requirement (…) to carry out daily acts of Christian worship is simply not appropriate for the diverse, multi-belief society that the UK is today.

‘It should be replaced with inclusive assemblies that further all children’s spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development, regardless of their background. We very much hope this Bill will help to make this positive vision a reality.’

She said the Bill would not impact faith schools, which make up around a third of schools in England.

However, it would affect other schools which are mostly Christian by character unless they had a specific ‘determination’, the Times Educational Supplement (TES) reported.

The UK is the only sovereign state in the world to impose worship in all state schools, including those without a religious character.

Schools can apply for an exemption - known as a ‘determination’ - from the requirement for worship to be ‘broadly Christian’ which allows them to carry out worship from a different faith tradition.

However, they are not currently permitted to opt-out of worship altogether.

Last month, Schools Minister Nick Gibb said schools not providing collective worship would be investigated by the Department for Education.

Research from the TES revealed that more than half of primary schools might be at risk of a DfE investigation because they do not undertake a daily act of collective worship.

The Bill is due to have its first reading in the House of Lords on Thursday.