Cal State Embraces Academic Mediocrity

Commentary Do California educators ever read the news? Because the world is not fitting into their ideology. The California State University Board of Trustees just unanimously banned the use of the SAT and ACT tests in admitting undergraduate students. Last year, the University of California system suspended using the tests through the 2024 academic year. “This decision aligns with the California State University’s continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds,” said Acting Chancellor Steve Relyea. “In essence, we are eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success.” He seems to be under the impression life outside the university actually is a level “playing field” and does not have “high stress.” Also, that debasing standards will maintain the status of “a high-quality college degree.” Perhaps he should spend a couple of years in the private sector in California. Or maybe take a trip to Ukraine. Not to mention there’s a recession barreling down the road like a Mack truck heading toward a bicycle. If California businesses are going to compete with not just the rest of America, but the world, the state is going to need the best students to get top educations and learn the skills to compete in a fierce global economy. One school that understands that is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It suspended using test scores during the two-year pandemic emergency. But on Monday it reinstituted them for the academic year beginning this fall. “Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants,” said Stu Schmill, the dean of admissions and student financial services.” The reason for Cal State and UC ditching the tests is supposedly to help advance diversity. But Schmill maintained the opposite: “Our research suggests the strategic use of testing can help us continue to improve both the diversity of our class and its collective success at MIT. The pandemic has only made this more clear, because classroom work and assessment have been just as disrupted as access to the tests, if not more so, and for longer periods of time, disproportionately affecting the most socioeconomically disadvantaged students. We know that the pandemic’s effects on grades and courses will linger for years, but the tests can give students a more recent opportunity to show that they have made up lost ground.⁠” Meanwhile, here are some events the Cal State and UC administrators might have missed: The Ukraine War, whatever its outcome, shows the U.S. needs high-quality weapons scientists and political strategists. Those are schooled at such places as Cal State and UC. If the smartest young students are kept out in favor of the less qualified, America will have fewer of those capable of producing the armamentarium and strategies needed to keep our country secure. America long has lacked enough diplomats and intelligence analysts with foreign language skills. We need more students learning Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi and so many other languages. It’s obvious smarter people—those scoring higher on the SAT or ACT—are better able to learn one or more foreign languages. Suppressing their attendance reduces further the number of qualified language specialists at the highest levels. After engaging in deadly skirmishes two years ago way up in the Himalayas, China and India now are becoming more friendly in the wake of the Ukraine War. China is Russia’s ally. India long has been close to Russia, going back to the days of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, and is not joining the U.S.-led boycotts. Now, this report, “NEW DELHI, March 25 (Reuters)—India said ties with China could not be normal until their troops pulled back from each other on the disputed border, but Beijing struck a conciliatory note during a meeting of their foreign ministers in New Delhi on Friday.” The world is not stopping while America refuses to train its best to the highest levels of competence. California has advanced ambitious goals on reducing greenhouse gases, specifically AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. How can it do so without the best students in its schools becoming scientists and engineers? Is the plan only to buy solar panels made in Chinese factories from slave labor and coal-powered electricity? Finally, according to Bloomberg analyst Bill Dudley, a recession now is inevitable. “To create sufficient economic slack to restrain inflation, the Fed will have to tighten enough to push the unemployment rate higher,” he wrote. “Getting inflation down will be costly, in terms of jobs and economic growth.” In a tough global and political environment, California can’t waste a single seat in a university classroom. Views expressed i

Cal State Embraces Academic Mediocrity

Commentary

Do California educators ever read the news? Because the world is not fitting into their ideology.

The California State University Board of Trustees just unanimously banned the use of the SAT and ACT tests in admitting undergraduate students. Last year, the University of California system suspended using the tests through the 2024 academic year.

“This decision aligns with the California State University’s continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds,” said Acting Chancellor Steve Relyea.

“In essence, we are eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success.”

He seems to be under the impression life outside the university actually is a level “playing field” and does not have “high stress.” Also, that debasing standards will maintain the status of “a high-quality college degree.”

Perhaps he should spend a couple of years in the private sector in California. Or maybe take a trip to Ukraine. Not to mention there’s a recession barreling down the road like a Mack truck heading toward a bicycle.

If California businesses are going to compete with not just the rest of America, but the world, the state is going to need the best students to get top educations and learn the skills to compete in a fierce global economy.

One school that understands that is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It suspended using test scores during the two-year pandemic emergency. But on Monday it reinstituted them for the academic year beginning this fall.

“Our research shows standardized tests help us better assess the academic preparedness of all applicants,” said Stu Schmill, the dean of admissions and student financial services.”

The reason for Cal State and UC ditching the tests is supposedly to help advance diversity. But Schmill maintained the opposite: “Our research suggests the strategic use of testing can help us continue to improve both the diversity of our class and its collective success at MIT. The pandemic has only made this more clear, because classroom work and assessment have been just as disrupted as access to the tests, if not more so, and for longer periods of time, disproportionately affecting the most socioeconomically disadvantaged students. We know that the pandemic’s effects on grades and courses will linger for years, but the tests can give students a more recent opportunity to show that they have made up lost ground.⁠”

Meanwhile, here are some events the Cal State and UC administrators might have missed:

  • The Ukraine War, whatever its outcome, shows the U.S. needs high-quality weapons scientists and political strategists. Those are schooled at such places as Cal State and UC. If the smartest young students are kept out in favor of the less qualified, America will have fewer of those capable of producing the armamentarium and strategies needed to keep our country secure.
  • America long has lacked enough diplomats and intelligence analysts with foreign language skills. We need more students learning Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Farsi and so many other languages. It’s obvious smarter people—those scoring higher on the SAT or ACT—are better able to learn one or more foreign languages. Suppressing their attendance reduces further the number of qualified language specialists at the highest levels.
  • After engaging in deadly skirmishes two years ago way up in the Himalayas, China and India now are becoming more friendly in the wake of the Ukraine War. China is Russia’s ally. India long has been close to Russia, going back to the days of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, and is not joining the U.S.-led boycotts. Now, this report, “NEW DELHI, March 25 (Reuters)—India said ties with China could not be normal until their troops pulled back from each other on the disputed border, but Beijing struck a conciliatory note during a meeting of their foreign ministers in New Delhi on Friday.” The world is not stopping while America refuses to train its best to the highest levels of competence.
  • California has advanced ambitious goals on reducing greenhouse gases, specifically AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. How can it do so without the best students in its schools becoming scientists and engineers? Is the plan only to buy solar panels made in Chinese factories from slave labor and coal-powered electricity?

Finally, according to Bloomberg analyst Bill Dudley, a recession now is inevitable. “To create sufficient economic slack to restrain inflation, the Fed will have to tighten enough to push the unemployment rate higher,” he wrote. “Getting inflation down will be costly, in terms of jobs and economic growth.”

In a tough global and political environment, California can’t waste a single seat in a university classroom.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


Follow

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com