Saturday, June 2, 2012

Morons Everywhere

I'd say we've gone too long without a good, old-fashioned disemboweling, wouldn't you?

Today's target comes from Fox News, of all places:

Time to toss the SAT test

Last year, 20 teenagers from five New York high schools were charged in an SAT cheating scandal; five of the students were accused of using fake IDs to take the college entrance exam for others and 15 were accused of paying students $500 to $3,600 to take the tests. Authorities believe as many as 50 students might have been involved.

Now, in an effort to curb cheating, the SAT will require students’ photos be printed on their test admission ticket.

There’s a better solution: Toss the test.

Do my Gentle Readers suspect that Miss Calandra's true motives have nothing to do with the prevalence of cheating on the SAT?

I'm not going to pull the whole moronic article over to Liberty's Torch. Please read the whole thing, then hustle back here for the refutation.

Finished so soon? My, my. I do hope you kept from dying of laughter.

Miss Calandra's argument reduces to the following:

  • "Low income" students with deficient English skills are "too poor to cheat."
  • The test is time-limited, which disadvantages slower thinkers.
  • " The SAT measures proficiency only in writing, reading and math....[It] does not measure the potential success of a student who is a masterful photographer or another who excels at interior design."
  • Those aforementioned "low income" students are "judged by their performance on the same standardized test as students with far more privileged backgrounds."
  • And last but not least laughable, "Education is a birthright, not a privilege."

This...person makes her living, or part of it, preparing students for the SAT. Do you suppose she thinks that gives her "moral authority" on the subject?

This is so typical a left-liberal screed that it's a wonder it hasn't already attracted belly laughs from a thousand other commentators. Every last objection Miss Calandra posits against the SAT (and by implication, against standardized tests in general), amounts to an ill-disguised claim that it discriminates among students: in part according to their mastery of the fundamental skills required by learning, thought, and expression; in part according to the incomes of their parents. It's founded in its entirety on a radical egalitarian vision that presumes, not merely that "education is a birthright," but that every child should receive the same education, and the same outcome from it, as every other.

Well, here's a hot flash for you, lady: Children are not identical in their capacities for academic achievement. Indeed, they vary greatly, as an hour's exposure to any classroom in America will demonstrate. But that, of course, is utter blasphemy to a radical egalitarian such as Lion Calandra.

The plague of grade inflation in primary and secondary education, coupled to the collapse of actual academic standards in the government-run schools, has made standardized tests more important than ever. Teachers are under so much pressure, from parents and school administrations, to give every child good grades that grade records have become useless in determining who could benefit from further education. A college admissions officer who's determined to uphold a standard above mediocrity would be an idiot to pay more than token attention to a student's high school grades.

Beyond that, one of the problems that besets higher education in our time is the widespread assumption that "everybody ought to go to college." (Including those masterful future photographers and interior designers, no doubt.) That assumption funnels many young persons with neither the capacity to absorb a college education nor any real interest in acquiring one into the halls of ivy, frequently against their own inclinations. Many universities, avid for every dollar of income they can get, have collaborated in the process by grade inflation and the creation of degrees in meaningless subjects. Among the consequences is that a college degree is gradually coming to mean as little to a potential employer as a high school diploma already does.

(In this connection, note that the Left is absolute death on employers' use of proficiency tests of any kind. Why? Because they sort the able from the unable by an objective standard. They make no allowances for race, ethnicity, sex, or a "disadvantaged background." A business that exists specifically to make a profit -- one of the dirtiest words in the English language, by the Left's lights -- cannot afford to hire the unskilled and the inarticulate for any but the most menial jobs. With scholastic and academic institutions at every level systematically corrupting their own standards, businesses must test job applicants, thoroughly and ruthlessly. But you'd take your life into your hands in saying that to such as Lion Calandra.)

Finally: Yes, money, wisely spent and combined with parental oversight and encouragement, plays a part in actualizing a child's capacity for learning, thinking, and expressing himself. That's why so many people are willing to pay more for houses in school districts with good reputations. It's why parents strive to save for their children's higher educations. In fact, it's among the biggest reasons parents strive to earn a decent income: so that their children will have the benefits thereof, and might thus be equipped to do even better than their ancestors. But once again, we tread on egalitarian toes in saying so; how often, after all, have we heard them rant about the unfairness of "income inequality?"

Miss Calandra probably isn't so stupid that she can't grasp the imbecility of her "arguments" for ditching the SAT. That forces me to assume that she's consumed by envy of the more intelligent, the more industrious, and the more materially fortunate, whether in propria persona or vicariously, in place of the students she tutors. And envy, as Ayn Rand has told us, amounts to hatred of the good for being good.

Unfortunately, such persons are everywhere. Their dominance of the schools, and the prevalence of their radical egalitarian doctrines there, constitute a compelling argument for homeschooling your kids. Beware them.


  1. I worked in a high tech job and a good friend of mine and co-worker was a slow reader and not good at tests. When the equipment broke down in the middle of the night they would call my slow reading test failing friend to come in and fix it even though they had a technician on duty. The simple reason was he was the best they had. I buy chance of genes usually can ace a test and I have benefitted from this but I do recognize that tests are not the best measure of ability or potential.

  2. 1. The youngest, here in the hinterlands, is still being homeschooled. He was pulled out of middle school, years ago, and has not been back since.

    2. Personally saw what the "guidance counselors" (along with any number of teachers) were doing to promote the idea that "everyone had the 'right' to go to college", while I was on recruiting duty for the Navy. What made that particular experiance interesting, was one of the schools in my particular recruiting area, was my own alma mater. Even back in the early 70's, that particular mantra was being espoused...though if memory was correct, they were not yet calling it a "right", they were saying everyone should be going to college (as that was where all the "cool kids" were going) because that would ensure you had a greater chance at providing for your and your future family, much better then having "just a high school education", along with say, a particular trade.

    Some 20 years later, the gloves were now completely off. Sure, you could go to a trade school, or junior college, to become "certified" at some trade or another (if you were not "smart enough" for a regular college...or some emotional or intellectual "disability" would prevent you from going...this being implied, never directly stated). Or if worse came to worse, there was always the military "Why I am not biased against the services. Some of my best friends and or relatives have had sons who joined..." (Substitute "some of my best friends are black, or jews, and you get the same tone and mindset). And yes, I heard those very words (or something damn close to it as to make no difference).

    3. Now, more than ever before, the kids are indoctrinated at earlier and earlier ages, in all aspects. Sex ed, Health (smoking is evil, what ever current fad is the dietary plan of the day ...low carbs...high carbs), global warming/climate change, diversity, environmental wackiness, political correctness...the list goes ever onward (and downward). Filling their minds with mush, vice facts and solid foundations in language, math, science, and history. Laying a strong foundation for the professors and other academia in the ivory towers of Mordor....err college campuses and universities across the country.

    So it is no surprise when you have someone like Miss Calandra, or her ilk, popping up from time to time. They are the result of the very same product they are trying to promote. What is perhaps of real surprise, is there isn't more of them being as vocal. Sadly, she is not the exception, but the rule. Yet another bit of flotsam from the 52%. Wonder if she is, like Ms Warren, "part Cherokee too".

  3. Ms Lion Calandra has no credibility.
    She is an obese whale with no sense of rationality. Fox News shows how they too lack credibilty by keep this
    chug on their payroll.
    Next time you try to stuff 10 pounds of shit into a two pound rated sack, think of Lyin' Calandra.

  4. Calandra's piece is one of those arguments that doesn't even make it to wrong. It's a mish-mash of "overheard" (as opposed to thought through) notions (as opposed to wholly formed ideas) that are suspended in a gelatin of illogic and ill logic.

    And Calandra is a *Senior* Editor at One might assume from that that the *Junior* Editors arrive at work via the short bus.

    The SAT is a test to see how functional one is with the languages of formal intellectual learning -- words and mathematics. It doesn't measure talent and certainly not character. It's a test of actualized IQ, which is a measure of a particular band of the mind essential to the application of linear reasoning (as opposed to, say, mimetic "reasoning," which expresses itself in artistic ability or acting or sports, and involves a high level of intuition; i.e., you don't get into a fine arts program because you're a mathematical genius).

    The key word in Scholastic Aptitude Test is "scholastic." (And for certain it's not a reference to the medieval philosophical school.) The *school* has been enlarged in our vapid society to a gigantism. For the brilliant, who need a place to go to perfect the tools of reason, intellect and, perhaps, wisdom, we have a few academic markets where that can get done. For the rest of us it's an opportunity to be set upon by social science charlatans and postmodern pus bags and "diversity" mountebanks. For a student just emerging from thirteen years in the public school penal colonies, this might look, at first, like freedom and opportunity. But I was reminded by Jonah Goldberg in his new book that Cornelius Vanderbilt only read one book in his life and he read it when he was seventy.

    Schools are the mirage oasis of our increasinly Godless, inverted, narcissistic catastrophe of a dying civilization. So there is indeed a Shakespearian irony in Calandra's assertion that education is now a birthright. As one genius whose name I've misplaced so perfectly nailed it: Ours will be the first civilization to educate itself to death.


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