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The Perils of Predicting the Future of Education

December 2, 2018 Leave a comment

The on-line magazine Quartz offered a series of articles earlier this week on The Future of College, one of which by Natasha Frost, “Experts predicting the future of education would have got an F“, offered some intriguing examples of ideas that were either almost right or completely off base. The predictions included this picture from 1910 by artist Jean-Marc Côte depicting the school of the future:

The article also included predictions that radio, “sound movies and mechanical tabulating machines”, personal computers, “practical use of direct electronic communication with and stimulation of the brain”, and flying classrooms would transform education at all levels and that universities would die off because “Colleges had become such hotbeds of Marxism, feminism, and affirmative action” that they would be inhospitable to most attendees.

As one whose entire blog is based on the premise that schooling in the future will incorporate the coordinated provision of medical and social services, the robust use of technology, and increased training in relationship building, I found the predictions both humorous and unsettling. The humor is evident in looking at the picture above… but the unsettling part is that each of the predictions have a dark side that one could see unfolding in our current schools.

There is a capability to avoid schooling altogether based on parental distaste for the culture that is implicitly taught in public schools and, with the advocacy for vouchers, it is conceivable that funds earmarked for “government schools” will be increasingly siphoned off for de facto madrases that inculcate religious values in children.

There is also the capability to avoid schooling altogether by engaging in on-line learning and passing a test that certifies one’s “mastery” of “career readiness” without experiencing the give-and-take of a classroom or a school. In this way a child could be shielded from contact with peers and become single-mindedly dedicated to, say, coding or micro-biology.

And there is also the capability (or in some cases proclivity) of schools to administer drugs to children to help control their behavior and thereby increase their ability to perform well in the classroom. The most unsettling quote from Ms. Frost’s article offers evidence of this: “A 2008 poll of Nature readers found that 20% of them “used drugs for non-medical reasons to stimulate their focus, concentration, or memory” … and I assume those drugs are stronger than the large cup of coffee I am sipping to help me arouse from slumber and focus my thoughts as I type this post.

Despite the possible adverse directions education could take, I remain optimistic that reasonable minds will see the value of improving human relationships and the importance of having equity in our economy and opportunities. Assuming that is the case, Martin Luther King Junior’s prediction will prevail: “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Let us hope that is true.

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Bloomberg’s Message to His Billionaire Buddies: Help Pay Tuitions for Neediest

November 19, 2018 Comments off

I wholeheartedly disagree with Michael Bloomberg’s approach to public education and despair at how he “reformed” public schools in New York. I do, however, appreciate his can-do attitude. If he observes a problem, he attempts to fix it using his money and expertise for what he perceives as “good”. His money and expertise helped make NYC a livable city, albeit not an affordable one. In doing so, he unwittingly illustrated the pitfalls in expanding market theories to public schools, but he also exhibited a willingness to use government policy to tackle major problems like obesity, global warming, and fitness. In sum, he used his billions and his expertise to do the best he could to solve serious and protracted social problems: he exemplifies the best instincts of philanthropy.

Quartz recently described Mr. Bloomberg’s latest foray into solving a serious social problem, access to higher education for those who cannot afford college, by donating $1,800,000,000 to his alma mater Johns Hopkins. While others are debating the admissions policies (and politics) of entry to Harvard, Mr. Bloomberg is tackling the issue head on by making a donation to an equally prestigious school that will ensure that Johns Hopkins is “forever needs blind” in its admissions. Quartz concludes with this synopsis of Mr. Bloomberg’s approach to philanthropy:

Bloomberg’s message to other big donors is clear: In lieu of donating yet another fancy building with your name on it, tackle educational opportunities at the root, and liberate young Americans from the decades-long prison of student debt.

And if you must donate a piece of architecture, at least do it with a sense of humility. In 2016, Bloomberg, who grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, donated $50 million to the Boston Museum of Science, the museum’s largest-ever private donation. He chose the Museum of Science because besides his parents, he says the museum was the most profound influence on his life (he earned his bachelors degree in electrical engineering). The money is being used to support the museum’s education center. Its new name: The William and Charlotte Bloomberg Science Education Center, named in Bloomberg’s parents’ honor.

Here’s hoping Mr. Bloomberg’s billionaire boys club buddies heed his message.

My Son-in-Law’s Description of the NYC High School Application Process Underscores Requirement for Parent Engagement

November 11, 2018 Comments off
My Grandson, Evan, is in eighth grade in NYC. This means he is in the throes of applying to high schools in that city, a process that requires much more parent engagement than applying for college, and a process that is much more involved than applying to college because there is no common application form. My son-in-law who has been fully engaged in the process took the time to provide a written synopsis of the process for his sister who lives in Colorado and was mystified by the fact that her nephew had to “apply for high school”. I know from my daughter’s sharing of her experiences on Facebook that most people in the country are unaware of how “choice” plays out in NYC… and when they see what parents are required to do they are astonished. Here’s my son-in-law’s overview in italics with some notations I’ve inserted in bold green and some phrases I’ve emphasized underlined in bold.
In NYC there are 8 “specialized” public high schools that are all very good schools and are spread across the 5 boroughs, some huge (Brooklyn Tech is the largest high school in the US with almost 6000 students) some relatively small (400-500 students). What these have in common is that admission is 100% based on a single 3-hour test–the SHSAT. Evan took that test a couple of weeks ago, and on the test form submitted our ranking of the 8 schools. Next spring the board of ed will run their algorithm on the test scores. Person with the highest score will be offered a spot at their #1 choice, then the next highest scoring person will be placed at their #1 choice, etc., until one or more schools fill all their spots, and some people start getting their 2nd choice, etc.. At the end of this process when each of the 8 schools have awarded all their slots, you can retroactively see a minimum “cutoff” score for each school. Evan took about 3 sample SHSAT tests, and his scores on two of them would likely be above the cutoff for at least a couple of these schools, so we’ll see in the spring whether he did well on the actual test. Of course the large majority of kids who take the test don’t get an offer from one of these schools. To summarize: one test determines whether a child qualifies to attend a “specialized” public school and not all children who take the test get into any school of their choice. 

Meanwhile, there are over 200 other public high schools in NYC, at least two dozen of which are also very good. These good schools are all “screened” schools, meaning they look at kids’ 7th grade report cards and state test scores and attendance records (and a few add their own admission test, essay, and/or interview into the mix) and rank applicants accordingly. Some of them also give preference based on what borough or neighborhood you live in, while some of them judge kids without considering where in the city they live. All NYC 8th graders have to submit a ranked preference list of 12 of these (non-specialized) high schools, regardless of whether they also took the SHSAT for the specialized schools.So the open houses I mentioned were a mix of specialized and non-specialized schools to help us submit the two lists of ranked schools. It’s a grueling process, and every kid comes home from school with a paper copy of this giant directory of schools to pore through:

To summarize: my son-in-law and daughter need to become familiar with all 200 high schools in the city to make an informed choice and, having done that background work, need to schedule visits to open houses to both determine and demonstrate their interest in the “screened” schools… and they need to have monitored my grandson’s work and attendance for the years leading up to 8th grade. 
The deadline for submitting Evan’s list is Dec. 3… Basically Evan has a shot at qualifying for Brooklyn Tech, which due to having the most slots generally has close to the lowest cutoff score for the specialized schools. And we have at least 8 smaller, boutique-y non-specialized schools to rank (mostly in Manhattan with one or two in Brooklyn) that we’d be very pleased with, as well as a couple of large Brooklyn “safety schools” that are more comparable to his middle school.. Of all the 20 schools ranked on the two lists, only one is in walking distance from our apt, and most are 20-80 minute subway rides away.  To summarize: there is no such thing as a neighborhood high school in Brooklyn. 
After all this hubbub, nothing much more will happen until March, when we’ll get a letter telling us: 1) SHSAT score 2) specialized school offer (if any) 3) regular school offer (if any). It is possible to end up with a choice to make between offers at a specialized school and a non-specialized school. It’s not impossible that when all is said and done he’ll be walking to that nearby school (Brooklyn Millennium HS), which is relatively young but very impressive. It’s also possible that he’ll be one of the hundreds of city kids going to really engaging schools butspending over 2 hours a day total on the subway to get there and back. Almost-worst case is that he’ll end up in a fine but ego-bruising safety school like his middle school. Worst-worst case is that he wouldn’t get into any of the schools ranked on either list, and would be arbitrarily placed in some other school that didn’t fill up during the first round of applications–… but I think its unlikely. To summarize: a young man who has a good attendance record, done well in his school work, and will presumably do well on the SHSAT, COULD end up not getting into any schools of his choice and may possibly have to settle for a school that is way down on his list of choices. 
The real bottom line in all of this is that the 10% of homeless children in NYC schools are highly unlikely to complete this daunting process…. nor are many of the 74% of the NYC students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.  It requires one resource that those parents lack: time. If a parent is looking for a place to sleep or looking for a better paying job they are unlikely to have the time to perform the kind of analysis my daughter and son-in-law did or the time to visit schools with their child that both my daughter and son-in-law devoted.
According to the Princeton Review, “Out of more than 28,000 students who took the SHSAT in 2016, only about 18% were offered a seat at a Specialized High School.” What the Princeton Review DIDN’T report and what has been underreported in the mainstream media and underemphasized by the “reformers” is this fact: there are roughly 75,000 students in the 8th grade cohort, which means that only 37% of the cohort took the test to qualify for the eight specialized schools and only 6.7% will get into one of those schools. How can “reformers” tout choice when only 37% of the children are taking the test that enables them to HAVE a choice and only 6.7% of those children will attend one of the “top schools” in the city?
I am grateful that my grandson has two parents who are willing and able to take the time to do the in depth research necessary to make an informed choice on his behalf. I wish those who espouse “choice” would realize that making a choice for schooling is inherently inequitable and unfair and stop insisting that it is a civil rights issue or a means of leveling the playing field for students. If “reformers” wanted to level the playing field they would advocate for fair housing, decent wages, and enough money to support the children in all schools in New York City…. and my Grandson might need to apply to a small group of schools that provide specialized programs for gifted and talented students but be confident that if he failed to gain acceptance there would be a high school within walking distance that would provide him with a robust, high quality college preparatory curriculum and a wide range of activities to participate in.

David Callahan Persuasively and Reasonably Defends the Billionaires

October 23, 2018 Comments off

Are ALL billionaires trying to undercut democracy or are they trying to inject innovative ideas into an ossified bureaucracy? In his thought provoking essay that appeared in Inside Philanthropy, “Enemies of the State? How Billionaires Think About Government“, David Callahan asserts that the great majority of philanthropists are not trying to undercut democracy, they are trying to inject it with innovative ideas.

While acknowledging that some philanthropists are eager to line their own pockets by reducing taxes and deregulating their businesses, he contends that most are interested in supporting and sustain democracy and, to that end, are interested in improving public education by injecting it with innovation. Early in his essay, Mr. Callahan asserts that most philanthropists are not aligned with those who have been demonized in this blog and the blogs of other anti-privatization writers:

The crusade to shrink government down to the size “that it can be drowned in a bathtub”—to paraphrase Grover Norquist’s memorable phrase—has never been a shared project of the upper class, but of a powerful libertarian faction within that class. Even the ceaseless drive for tax cuts over a generation has mainly animated wealthy people on the right. Many less ideological rich people aren’t so worked up over taxes; after all, when you’re loaded, you can easily afford them. And while polls show that the wealthy are more fiscally conservative than the public writ large, it’s also true they tend to favor many government functions: a globalist foreign policy, infrastructure, education, scientific research, space exploration, environmental protection, and so on. They understand that these things cost money…

If you put aside the libertarian ideologues like the Koch brothers and the DeVos family, what you’ll find is that most of today’s wealthy philanthropists think about government in much the same way that big donors and foundations have always thought about government: as a sector with enormous power to solve problems, but also with major limitations—such as a reluctance to take risks and experiment with new ideas, an inability to move quickly or pivot easily, and a tendency to neglect causes or concerns that don’t animate ordinary voters or which antagonize powerful interests.

In this assessment, I fear that Mr. Callahan overlooks the powerful grip the “…libertarian ideologues like the Koch brothers and the DeVos family”  have on the public’s impressions of “government schools”. He also fails to grasp the fundamental reality that those who have been identified as “successful” as a result of the existing paradigms in education are the most reluctant to “take risks and experiment” with the dominant paradigm because the rules inherent in the dominant paradigm have worked in their favor. Why should the existing method of sorting a selecting be changed if the changes might result in their children being placed at a disadvantage when the time comes for them to apply to the elite college their parents attended?

Mr. Callahan is especially upset with the way the Gates family has been cast in the privatization debates and the notion that ALL philanthropists share the world view of the Koch brothers and Betsy DeVos. He acknowledges that the Gates Foundation has been ham-handed in implementing it’s views, but believes that they truly value public education. He writes:

On education, the Gates Foundation has sometimes been cast as a key player in a philanthropic cabal to privatize public schools. This is a caricature. Rather, the foundation’s goal has been to influence how public education works in order to improve student outcomes. The huge Gates role in education is problematic; it gives a private couple way too much power over a key democratic institution. And that power has been abused, too, as a high-handed foundation has pushed through ill-conceived reform ideas.

Still, let’s be clear what’s going on here. Bill and Melinda Gates are not libertarians. Quite the contrary. Like many technocratic donors, they often want to expand the reach and authority of government.

The huge Gates push to enact the Common Core standards is a case in point. This has been viewed—rightly, I think—as a backdoor effort to enact national education standards in an area where federal power has always been limited. It’s not surprising that the right mobilized against the standards early on, pushing back against what they saw as an elite bid to elevate the power of a know-it-all state over the wisdom of local leadership—familiar battle lines that date back to the clash between Jefferson and Hamilton.

To be sure, there are some K-12 philanthropists who really do dream of substantially privatizing public education. But most of these donors, including top charter school funders, don’t believe in true privatization, and that’s not what they’re after.

What these donors want is forpublic schools to operate with more day-to-day autonomy, so that their leaders have the kind of power that effective leaders need, starting with the ability to hire and fire their own staff and control their own budget and infrastructure. These donors are not hostile to government per se; they are hostile toward government that is overly centralized, with a command-and-control model they view as archaic and ineffective.They see charter schools as a means to get around these institutional obstacles and reinvent how government works when it comes to education.

What the pro-charter investors fail to recognize is that the most conservative districts are the ones that serve children raised in affluence: the districts that reinforce the current mechanisms of college entry. The districts that strive to prepare their students for entry into “elite” colleges need to maintain the status quo because in doing so they are preparing their students for entry into colleges that seek a particular kind of student: the kind of student who is “well rounded”, has high grades, and comes from a stable home and stable community environment.

From my perspective, if philanthropists want to disrupt education they could do so by encouraging the “elite” colleges to accept more students from schools that serve children raised in poverty and offer incentives for the “well rounded” children who come from stable homes and stable neighborhoods and who earned high grades to attend the community colleges in their communities and the universities and colleges funded by their state government. Until the top 5% embrace those institutions and walk away from the “elite” schools the economic disparity in our nation will persist.

ACT Results Show Bi-Partisan Premises Behind NCLB, RTTT, ESSA are Flawed… But They Will NOT Be Easily Overturned

October 18, 2018 Comments off

The latest ACT results are worse than ever, which John Merrow believes might drive a final nail in the coffin of the premise that annual high stakes tests will improve schools… but if last year’s debates in Congress and the ongoing debates in state legislatures are any indication there is no likelihood of changing the thinking on accountability any time soon. Why? Because ESSA delegated accountability to States and at this writing 33 states are controlled by GOP legislatures, many of whom are using the ALEC playbook to craft legislation and frame the debates about public education in their states. Add to that the ongoing debates about how best to “harden” schools and the bandwidth for debates about public education is used up.

New Hampshire where I live is a good case in point. In 2016 voters elected GOP candidate Chris Sununu as governor and elected GOP dominated legislature. Once elected, Mr. Sununu replaced widely respected Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry, a Ph.D educator, with Frank Edeblut, a business executive who homeschooled his seven children and ran to the right of Mr. Sununu in the primaries. As a result of the 2016 election there has been no discussion whatsoever about moving forward with a creative accountability plan Dr. Barry developed, a plan that was not exclusively reliant on standardized testing. Instead, the GOP Governor and GOP controlled State Legislature are trying to pass laws that would expand the use of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for parents who want to educate their children in private sectarian schools. To fund these ESAs, the GOP planned to divert funds from an equalization formula developed by previous legislatures in response to a court order that would provide more support to property poor districts so their students could meet the “adequate education” mandated by the State Supreme Court. The GOP governor’s solution? Pass a bill that would preclude the courts from intervening on issues involving public school funding and expand choice. The Governor’s thinking? If the parents of students who resided in property poor towns had the opportunity to use tax free savings to take their children out of “failing government schools” and place them in any school they wished their children would ultimately benefit.

Added to the mix of ALEC bills designed to facilitate vouchers that will supposedly allow children who reside in property poor towns to escape the “failing schools” in their community is the ongoing debate on how much to spend to “harden” public schools to make them safe from shooters. This debate about school safety is a double whammy for public education: it inevitably results in diverting funds away from making capital improvements in outdated schools, many of which are located in property poor towns; and it reinforces the notion that public schools are inherently unsafe, making the push for de facto vouchers to attend private schools more politically acceptable.

Because of the ongoing debates on vouchers and school safety, debates on the virtue of standardized testing are pushed to the sidelines. Indeed, the need for these tests is largely settled in minds of most voters. Didn’t voters need to pass test to pass courses that got them promoted to the next grade level and earn a diploma? Didn’t voters who went to college have to attain a minimum score on the SAT to gain acceptance to their higher education? Doesn’t the military and civil service use tests to sort and select applicants? Why, then, doesn’t it make sense to use tests to determine if schools are successful?

At the conclusion of his article on the decline in ACT scores, Mr. Merrow writes:

It’s past time for progressives to speak loudly in support of strong public education….as well as other social initiatives that will address homelessness, hunger, and lack of health care.  Schools don’t function in isolation, not when–for example–about 10 percent of New York City’s public school students are homeless.

I completely agree and persist in writing this blog to that end… but, I don’t see many politicians at any level speaking up for public education or “…social initiatives that will address homelessness, hunger, and lack of health care“. The Social Darwinists in the GOP want to drown government in a bathtub and the neo-liberals who dominate the DNC are comfortable with privatization of public services or relying on the goodwill of philanthropists… and NO politician in EITHER wants to advocate for the higher taxes that would be needed to underwrite these social needs. And alas, as the cold analysis outlined above indicates, I do not see much sentiment today among rank and file voters for “social initiatives that will address homelessness, hunger, and lack of health care” because they know that such initiatives will cost them money.

My bottom line is that unless we reframe the debates about public education away from “choice” and the debates about social initiatives away from their cost we will continue on the path we are traveling and inequality will persist. We need to talk more about the common good and less about the virtue of selfishness.

The Competitive College’s Efforts to Diversify Backfire

October 15, 2018 Comments off

In 1996 when my younger daughter was a college senior applying to colleges I was living in Western Maryland in a county that was identified as being a part of Appalachia. My daughter was a strong student and by virtue of pursuing her natural interests, drama, distance running, and writing, she ended up with a “good resume” that enabled her to apply for a get accepted into two “elite” New England colleges: Brown and Amherst. Once accepted into these colleges, she attended their recruitment weekends where the admissions office tries to persuade its pool of accepted applicants to chose their school over others. At both of these colleges we heard the same message from the Admissions Office: they had waded through thousands of applicants and “created” an incoming Freshman Class that reflected a cross section of America that was heterogeneous geographically and culturally but all capable of succeeding in college. That ability of admissions officers to create such a heterogeneous cohort is now under fire.

The recent news that Harvard is being sued by Asian American students is the latest case of an elite institution being sued for “reverse discrimination” of one kind or another, and in “Elite College Admissions Are Broken” Atlantic writer Alia Wong contends that racial discrimination is only a symptom of a much deeper problem: the outsize demand for entry into these colleges is driven by the questionable motive of status-seeking… and colleges can’t really “fix” that problem. As Ms. Wong writes:

How do you stop Americans from associating, to borrow the words of the Harvard law professor and affirmative-action scholar Lani Guinier, “selectivity with excellence”? Universities—both elite and open-access, private and public—are heavily reliant on students’ tuition money and research-grant funding, and are thus forced to compete with each other to stay on top. And even they wanted to band together in an effort to fix the admissions system, those fixes would likely be prohibited by federal antitrust law, as The Atlantic’s Jeff Selingo has reported; many of the proposed solutions would require colleges to share information about applicants with each other and thus cooperate, violating laws pertaining to corporate competition. As one college-admissions expert concluded in a 2012 interview with Inside Higher Ed, students and colleges just keep “chasing each other around a round table.”

And when colleges have thousands of applicants, the ultimate decisions about whom to accept can turn on very arbitrary factors. Ms. Wong quotes college admissions “coach” Naomi Sternberg to illustrate this point:

“You can do everything ‘right’—have a 35 [out of 36 on the ACT]; have a lot of leadership, whatever that means; have all the things on some fictitious checklist of things you assumed you need to do—and you are just as likely or exceedingly not likely to get into insert-whatever-premium-university-here,” Steinberg says, stressing how arbitrary the process can be. “Admissions officers are thinking, ‘I need a red-headed, ambidextrous tennis-star-slash-tuba-player,’ and now they can’t take your application that was thoughtful and wonderful because of the directive that just came down. … They just need a student to fill that spot on the beautiful mosaic they’re creating.”

I recall hearing a variant of this from the Admissions Officer at Amherst when we were visiting there the first time to discuss whether my daughter might qualify for financial aid. He said that if the first oboe in the orchestra was scheduled to graduate an oboist would get in before a Valedictorian with high SAT scores, a response that, to me, was common sensical and reasonable.

What makes even more sense to me is the need for competitive colleges to preserve space for low income students who are attending colleges for the first time. In order to accomplish this, many elite colleges instituted a “holistic” approach to admissions— though, as Ms. Wong notes, their motives were not necessarily high-minded:

In the early 20th century, the country’s handful of elite universities began to request essays, teacher recommendations, and other information regarding candidates’ “background” and “character” beyond an entrance-exam score in their effort to surreptitiously restrict the number of Jewish students on campus. But the scope and purpose of this “holistic” approach to evaluating students has evolved since then, and today in its most genuine form evaluates each applicant through the lens of her context—her interests and personality, yes, but also her race and parents’ educational background, for example, and the ways in which that identity may have hindered her opportunities. These days, elite colleges tend to “laud it as a legally viable method to reduce inequality and promote college access,”according to a 2017 University of Michigan policy brief co-authored by the higher-education professor Michael Bastedo. Holistic admissions can be very effective at achieving those goals: A recent study by Bastedo and several co-researchers published in the Journal of Higher Education that analyzed higher-education institutions across the U.S. found that those that use holistic admissions are far more likely than those that don’t to enroll low-income students. 

But “holistic” approaches defy objective standardization and are thus suspect in the minds of those who believe anything “subjective” is suspect.

As readers of this blog realize, this valuing of standardized “objective” scoring is not limited to those who challenge college admissions standards: it is clearly a part of the ranking systems used by US News and World Report… and the rankings imposed on public education by NCLB, RTTT, and now ESSA. If we ever hope to restore the ideal of our entire nation as a “beautiful mosaic” instead of a shark tank we need to re-think the entire college application process… by making college available to any student who wants to attend at any time in their life.

“Asian Americans” Suit Against Harvard Because of Reverse Discrimination Undercuts Diversity, Opportunity

August 31, 2018 Comments off

Today’s headline story in the NYTimes reads:

Asian-American Students Suing Harvard Over Affirmative

Action Win Justice Dept. Support

Once again our country is witnessing a desire to impose some kind of meritocracy based on testing, a meritocracy that flies in the face of the economic, racial, and skill diversity that makes our country great and makes post secondary education a rich and meaningful experience for all. I expect that not only Harvard but also every other college and university will push back against this effort to base admissions solely on “objective criteria”.

Over two decades ago, one of my daughters was accepted to two “elite” colleges. When we attended the weekends where the colleges invited prospective students to visit campus with their parents one of the points the admissions officers made at both schools was their intent to make the entering population both academically excellent AND geographically, economically, and culturally diverse. One of the schools made a point of emphasizing how many valedictorians and high SAT scorers were NOT accepted because of their efforts to create a class that was more reflective of the nation as a whole. In effect, these “elite” schools wanted to make it clear that their entry standards were NOT based “entirely on objective statistics”… they included other factors as well.

This reality was driven home in our initial visits to campuses as well where more than one school told a group of prospects that if the college orchestra needed an oboist or a strong tennis player that person might gain entry over someone with 1600 on their SATs. In order for colleges and universities to offer broad experiences for ALL students they need to be mindful of areas of excellence outside of the traditional “objective measures”. Indeed, I do not recall ANY school we visited in the mid-1990s who proclaimed they were identifying the “best and brightest” based solely on objective measures.

When objective academic statistics are the sole criteria for admission, music, the arts, and athletics will all suffer… and possibly endowments as well. But, presumably, that is a price worth paying to ensure “fairness” prevails.