Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rich Folks Get All the Breaks

The Washington Post magazine's education review can occasionally be a source of wonderful articles, but is also a source of the quasi-journalism that exists simply to fill pages. One of those latter types of pieces was this piece about how more well off students get more test prep for the SATs/ACTs and (SHOCKER!!!) get higher scores. The rich kid goes to Wooton, and the "poor" kid goes to Wheaton.

Even as a liberal and someone who believes everyone should get a reasonably fair shot in life, I find it all just a bit ridiculous that there's hand-wringing about well-off parents using the resources they have to ensure that their children have a better chance to get into a decent college. That's what any parent would do. As Aristotle once said, don't hate the player, hate the game.

Here's the thing, if educators and policy makers want everyone to have a fair shot at taking the SATs, make it illegal to charge a fee, and ensure that students can only take it three times. That way no one can be denied a chance simply by lacking the funds to pay the test fee. Or even better, but much tougher is to a better test. For example, students can't really study for the Raven Test.

Also nice to see is how all the children of Montgomery County are so photogenic. It's tough for us to be such a pretty county, but we get by.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aristotle just inferred that from Plato's famous quote "I'm not a player...I just crush a lot"

Nevie Brooks. said...

somebody needs to tell the wheaton kids to buy a kaplan book. there's nothing you learn in a thousand-dollar prep course that's not in that book.

(this is not helping my image of being a rich bitch wootton graduate.)

Stephen said...

Free SATs would be a good thing. Also, free science classes would be nice as well. Lab fees are absurd.

Max Nova said...

I agree with Nevie. Although I would add in a vocab book as well, which still only adds like $20 to the cost.

One thing to note is that at some point students need to learn independantly, and that point is usually college. All this extra prep is just showing how unprepared most kids are.

Ozkirbas said...

I didn't live in MoCo, so I went to neither of the schools to which you've referred. However, a decent option at my High School (which was public, and a good one) was a class that was offered called "Prep for College." It was an SAT Prep/College Writing Class which went year long (attended normally in one's Junior year), available to those interested in getting testing experience, time to flush out application strategies, etc. Though it might not have had the same appeal as a comprehensive prep course, it certainly provided a viable alternative for kids who were unable to afford said ridiculously overpriced courses. It was a bit of a joke at times, but it got me practicing for the SATs.

(Truth be told - I always kinda felt those expensive prep courses were a waste. LSAT Prep? Totally different story.)

B.Graham said...

Don't blame the rich for being rich, blame the government for keeping the poor poor. Or something.

Jason Heat said...

Perhaps i am just special, but I took absolutely no SAT prep classes, did no studying of any kind, no practice SATs outside of school, and stayed up late watching wrestling the night before and i did just fine.

Jstone said...

Our SAT prep classes were free. So were the AP tests, But since only 5 of us in the whole county used either the county could cover the cost.

Anne said...

I'm with Jason on this one ... except the wrestling. Also, it's not what any parent would do.

Damo said...

That is basically how I handled both my Good Enough Diploma exam and my PLSATs. No study, actually forgot I was even taking the PLSATs until I woke up hung over one morning (at 1pm) to my alarm going off with the message "PLSATs in an hour!"

Thank god I was still dressed from the night before, I got up, splashed water on my face, and walked to Kaplan to score a 159.

btw, Nevie, I can't pull knowledge out of books on my own very well. I'm an audio/visual learner. I just stare at the pages and yearn for someone to talk to. :(