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This Week: $4,500 for a Better SAT Score? The College Board's Unfair New Program

Why is the organization that administers the SAT selling access to a "special" test date -- at $4,500 a pop?

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In this context, to create a special opportunity to take the test only for those who can pay in the thousands of dollars to access it, suggests an allegiance to the least democratic principles I can imagine. (Even the College Board now seems to understand that something is “off” about what they’re planning to do: in recent days they’ve begun to backpedal and now claim the August date will only be a “pilot” test -- which, as FairTest points out, is laughable for a couple of reasons.) 

But the College Board’s plan is only a symptom of the larger problem; this same lack of concern for equality in education is what’s driving far too much education policy these days – and this week’s Education newsletter offers you a number of views on just how uncommitted we are, as a nation, to ensuring that all students get an equal shot at achieving their personal best.

I hope you’ll take the time to learn more about which states are funding public pre-K, and why it matters so much that they do – particularly for children whose parents will never be able to afford the $4,500 to buy them a shot at a perfect SAT score. Take a look, too, at the cuts being made to continuing education programs that, again, serve students who – for a set of not dissimilar reasons – would never make it onto Amherst’s campus for the tony summer program the College Board is offering. 

The folks at the College Board can talk all they want about “expanding college access” and “democratizing” forces, but on this one, they’ve shown their hand. Apparently, the fastest route to scoring well on the SAT is being born rich – which, come to think of it, has clearly been the case all along.


Elizabeth G. Hines is AlterNet's education editor. Follow her on Twitter: @mseghines

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