Killing the Messenger

In 1995, only 465 black high school seniors, out of 103,872 taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), scored 650 or higher on the verbal portion; on the math portion, 1,437 scored higher than 650. By comparison, out of 674,343 white test takers, 36,700 scored 650 or higher on the verbal portion; 51,306 scored 650 or higher on the math part. Out of 81,514 Asian test takers, 2,513 scored 650 and higher on the verbal portion; 9,454 scored 650 and higher on the math portion.

Upwards of 75 percent of students admitted to the nation's 58 elite colleges such as Harvard, Yale, MIT and Stanford have combined SAT scores of 1200 or 1300 or higher. If black students were to be admitted to these elite colleges, on the same academic terms as white and Asian students, there'd be no more than 50 or so at each institution. Of course, there are many more. Harvard University, for example, hasn't admitted fewer than 100 black students in any given year since 1970. That means these colleges admit black students whose academic achievement is lower than others who are admitted. That might partially explain why nation wide 74 percent of black students haven't graduated after five years.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has issued the following dictum: "The use of any educational test which has significant disparate impact on members of any particular race, national origin, or sex is discriminatory, and a violation of Title VI and/or Title IX respectively, unless it is educationally necessary and there is no practical alternative form of assessment which meets the education institution's needs and would have a less disparate impact."

That means colleges and universities using the SAT (or ACT) as a part of their admissions process, will be summoned to the Department of Education and given the third-degree. The Department of Education will strive to ultimately outlaw the use of SAT and the punishment at their disposal is cutting off federal research grants and tuition aid.

That's just what we need - more educational dumbing down. And it's being done by stealth, out of the sight of the American people. Black people should raise hell about the U.S. Department of Education's demeaning arrogance. Educational fraud has already made high school diplomas held by blacks virtually meaningless. Now Clinton's Department of Education gang wants to begin a policy that undermines the credibility of college degrees held by blacks.

SAT scores aren't meant to measure intelligence or whether one will ultimately be successful in life. The SAT is designed to predict a student's class standing at the end of his freshman year. So far as blacks are concerned, the SAT tends to over-predict - predicts a standing higher than achieved. Low SAT scores are primarily the result of fraudulent public school education and lower family values placed on education. The solution to the educational fraud is competition and parental choice. But the U.S. Department of Education, in cahoots with the education establishment, fights tooth and nail to maintain our corrupt education monopoly.

As for choosing a college, what should a black parent, or any parent, do? Don't allow your child to attend a college where the average student SAT score is 200 points or more higher than his. It's flattering to a parent to receive an acceptance letter from Harvard, Yale or MIT. But graduating from a second tier college is better than being academically mismatched and flunking out of a first-tier college. You say, "Williams, but what's Harvard, Yale and MIT going to do about racial diversity?" I say, "That's their problem. Black parents have no duty to provide school mascots."

Walter E. Williams
August 27, 1999
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