Letter: Another Insult To Our Hardworking Students

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As our hardworking students prepare to end the school year, many of our high school juniors will be taking the SAT college admissions test.

Administered by The College Board, the SAT has been an annual ritual for almost 100 years. However, the SAT is in trouble. In recent years, the ACT, a competing college admissions test, has increased in popularity. In addition, a large and increasing list of colleges have changed their rules on college admissions exams.

Currently, more than 850 schools have waived the tests entirely or allow alternatives, such as AP exams. These recent developments have The College Board terrified. After decades of milking test prep and test exam fees from hundreds of thousands of students, they are at a crossroad. The College Board is desperate to keep the gravy train going.

In a pathetic attempt to stay relevant, The College Board recently announced that it will be assigning an “Adversity Score” to all SAT test takers. This score, which will be kept secret from the student, will be a reflection of the neighborhood and school of the test taker. The goal is to identify students who have supposedly achieved more than their environment would normally allow.

The score has nothing to do with individual student circumstances. It is based solely on generalized statistics about the student’s neighborhood—like median income, percentage of single-parent families, average education level of the area, etc.

In other words, given Great Neck’s commitment to education and quality of life, every Great Neck student will be assigned an adversity score of zero or near zero.

To be clear, The College Board will send each of our student’s scores, along with the message that whatever score the child has achieved, it is the product of a pampered, spoiled student who faced little or no “adversity.”

This is an insult to every resident of our beautiful Great Neck peninsula. The College Board knows nothing about our students. It knows nothing of the adversity our students do or do not face.

Adversity is the very thing that brought so many of us to Great Neck in the first place. We all know that the Great Neck work ethic is what drove so many of us to this school district in the first place. How dare The College Board judge us based on our zip codes.

It is time to tell The College Board to abandon this disrespectful idea immediately. The Great Neck Public Schools should immediately stop offering the SAT and only offer the ACT.

We should make every parent aware of this terrible new Adversity Score and how each and every one of our children will be negatively affected. We should not participate in a system that diminishes our success and disparages our students. As a community, every one of us should join together and tell The College Board they have made a grave miscalculation.

—Neal Picker

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