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Harvard Brings Back Required Standardised Tests for Admission

Ashley Waithira

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Harvard University will again require SAT or ACT scores for admissions starting April 11, 2024. During the Covid19 pandemic, the university let students apply without these test scores. Now they’ve changed their policy to what it was before.

A Return to Old Ways

The move by Harvard follows a similar pattern seen in other Ivy League schools such as Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown. These schools have also started asking for standardized tests results again. This change shows that many in higher education still believe these tests are a good way to measure who should get into college.

  • Starting with Applications for Fall 2025- Students who want to go to Harvard must submit their test score when they apply for the fall of 2025.
  • Full Review- Even with changes, college admissions staff stress that test results are just a piece of the puzzle when they look at applications.

Effect of Covid19

Stopping the need for tests was because the pandemic disrupted things on a huge scale. Standardized testing got harder to do, so schools like Harvard made sure every student had a shot at getting in, no matter their situation.

Why They’re Bringing Tests Back

The Dean of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, Hopi Hoekstra, gave some reasons for bringing back the test rule,

  • Fair Comparison: Tests give an equal yardstick to measure all candidates by, no matter where they come from or what their story is.
  • Evaluating Student Potential: Standardized tests give us clues about a student’s ability to do well in college and later in life.
  • Identifying Underserved Talents: These tests are great for finding outstanding students from schools that don’t have a lot of resources. When we look at test scores along with other parts of a student’s record, we can find some really impressive kids.

A study by Harvard professors Raj Chetty, David J. Deming, and their colleague John N. Friedman has shown how important standardized tests can be for bringing more students from different economic backgrounds into schools. Their work shows that even though these tests aren’t perfect, they’re generally fairer than other things like letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and essays.

Support for Disadvantaged Students

To tackle issues of fairness and access, the folks at Harvard have highlighted various tools to help students get ready for these exams. For instance Khan Academy provides free prep courses which helps level the playing field.
Making it more manageable for students of various backgrounds to do well on exams like the SAT or ACT.

Looking Forward

As Harvard moves back to needing standardized tests, they’ll regularly check if this change matches up with their goals for admissions. They want a student population that’s diverse and skilled, showing a wide range of life stories and points of view.

  • Chances for Feedback: Harvard is open to hearing from those applying and folks who know education as they tweak the admission rules.
  • Aiming for Fairness: Harvard keeps focusing on fair admissions, looking at all aspects of an applicant and not just oversimplifying it to test results.

Wrapping It Up

To sum up, Harvard University deciding to bring back testing requirements is going back to how things usually are when letting people into college. Despite the different opinions about this, the school’s bosses reckon it’s the right move.
Upgrading the admissions process will give us a better picture of what each student could achieve. As we all deal with the effects of the pandemic, schools are changing their rules to keep things fair, easy to access, and still aim for topnotch quality.

Ashley is a creative and adventurous Journalism graduate with a vibrant personality. Her love for exploring new places fuels her passion for travelling, allowing her to uncover captivating stories and diverse cultures. With a kind and fun-loving nature, she radiates positivity and enjoys connecting with people from all walks of life. Ashley's belief in a supreme being serves as a moral compass, guiding her to always strive for what is right and just. In her spare time, she immerses herself in the pages of books, seeking inspiration and expanding her knowledge. Ashley's zest for life and unwavering dedication to her values make her remarkable.

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Education

Studying School Integration, 70 Years After Brown v. Board of Education

Cam Speck

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The U.S. Supreme Court made a groundbreaking decision in Brown v. Board of Education seventy years ago, declaring school segregation as unconstitutional. This judgement meant to change the nature of education in America. Yet, seven decades later, full school integration is still not achieved. Even more worrisome, recent patterns suggest an alarming retreat toward segregation, putting the progress of the past at risk.

Persistent Segregation Issues

Brown v. Board verdict aimed to initiate an age of equal education opportunities. However, currently many Black and Hispanic students are still going to schools mostly filled with pupils from minority groups. These schools often lack resources as they are situated on lower income grounds, leading to lesser educational quality than their wealthier counterparts where most students are white.

Research shows that schools with a majority of minority students get less funding per student. have more significant class sizes and fewer experienced teachers at work. These differences significantly affect student performance results on standard tests and graduate rates and make attending college less likely.

Recent Law Changes

  • New Mexico:  A recent court ruling temporarily stopped a statewide requirement that called for every school district to provide at least 180 days of classes annually due to strong opposition from many districts facing budgetary and operational issues.
  • Mississippi: The Mississippi governor validated a new law that amends how schools are financed beginning July 1, 2024 aiming for a fairer distribution of state money across all districts.
  • Missouri: Missouri has enacted a new law providing scholarships for private education for K12 students from low income families, widening the educational options and opportunities available.

Hindrances Toward Integration

Even though Brown v. Board marked a significant leap towards equality, later court decisions and policymaking hampered this promise. Over time, key Supreme Court rulings such as Milliken v. Bradley and Parents Involved v. Seattle School District No. 1 have limited how segregation can be challenged, leaving school districts fewer possibilities to encourage integration.

Current Thoughts on Integration

Derek Black, a notable law professor, explains that even if public support for integrated education is high in America, it’s still mostly an ideal rather than a reality in modern educational systems. He emphasizes the contrast between public opinion and the actual state of our schools, “Sadly in present times school integration exists more as an idea than a reality.”

Moving Ahead

The fight to integrate schools continues on multiple fronts involving changes not only in education but also societal and economic areas. Some advocate for revising policies like magnet schools and controlled choice plans creating diverse and equal learning opportunities.

Extended Impact

On this 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education we must consider how resegregation affects us all. The growing separation of students based on race or socioeconomic status contradicts equality as one of the basis of our democratic society. It also continues the vicious cycle of poverty and loss of rights.

Closing Remarks

The road to equal education is long with many obstacles along the way but each challenge opens up new ways for us to reaffirm our commitment to equity and justice represented by Brown v. Board’s decision. Embracing innovation solutions with relentless advocacy hopefully will bring us nearer to achieving a fully integrated and equal educational experience for all our children.

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Education

Issues in Higher Education Regarding Ideology

Ashley Waithira

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Lately, higher education has been a centre for ideological conflicts, especially with growing antiIsrael protests. This increase in demonstrations leads to significant discussions on the origins of funding and the influence of ideology on academic curriculums in leading universities.

Funding Sources and Ideological Influence

Many top institutions’ core curriculum seems to promote a leftwing viewpoint, including negative views towards American and Israeli policies. These perspectives lead to concerns about who funds these educational agendas. Charles Gasparino points out that top Wall Street executives, often alumni from these universities, indicate that significant financial support comes from domestic and international backers who may benefit from weakening Western ideological impact.

Funding Reports have indicated that countries like Qatar, where Hamas leadership resides, have given millions to institutions such as Georgetown University.

Wall Street’s Role, The composition of university boards often includes financial leaders. This could lead to potential conflicts of interest, especially if monetary influence educational content that is critical of capitalism and Western views.

In an era filled with abundant information, universities should promote critical thinking and a range of perspectives. However, it appears some institutions are prioritising indoctrination over true educational values.

Impact on Jewish Students and Academic Freedom

The increase in antisemitism on college campuses is worrying. Jewish students regularly encounter harassment and threats mainly because of extreme beliefs being promoted. Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer, has outlined ongoing legal issues associated with this prejudice at universities.

There have been lawsuits against schools like Columbia and Harvard because they didn’t protect Jewish students from discrimination.

Even with these issues and legal battles, the financial support for these universities does not stop. Influential donors and trustees appear to either ignore or accept the growing radical ideas in these educational institutions.

Voices from the Field

Notable figures like former U.S. President Donald Trump and Representative Elise Stefanik have voiced their concerns about other politicians ignoring the rising antisemitism and protests in colleges. This issue highlights the significant impact of prevailing ideological views in higher education, signaling a potential need to rethink educational objectives and how these institutions are funded.

Moving forward, it is clear that discussions on ideological biases and funding’s role in higher education will continue to be important points of debate. As universities anticipate future challenges, they must

As we continue to address these challenges, several important changes could affect the future of academia,

  1. Greater Transparency in Funding: There might be a demand for clearer understanding about who finances universities and how this impacts their curricula and campus policies. This may bring reforms in how funding is done, especially with concerns about foreign funds that could have ideological conditions.
  2. Maintaining Academic Freedom and Campus Peace: Universities will probably keep trying to find the right balance between preserving academic freedom and promoting a peaceful campus atmosphere. Important here is handling issues such as antisemitism and other discrimination without limiting free exchange of thoughts.
  3. Better Support for Different Opinions: In response to critiques on limiting dissenting views, universities could start taking measures to actively support a wider array of perspectives.

Points in academic discussions and speaker events, focusing on including and respecting all contributions.

Conclusion

The chaos within higher education mirrors larger societal conflicts over values and who controls the story. As these schools prepare future leaders, the outcomes are extremely important. The issue is how to balance academic freedom with a curriculum that encourages open and thorough debate instead of suppressing different opinions.

The ongoing ideological battles in higher education affect not just educational quality but also raise serious questions about the role of universities in developing knowledgeable and critical citizens. As debates and protests persist, the call for transparency, diversity of opinion, and academic honesty becomes increasingly crucial for addressing both global and local issues.

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Education

Overview of Recent Events

Anne lise Sylta

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Vestavia Hills City Schools made a controversial decision to move Lauren Dressback from her position as principal of Cahaba Heights Elementary to an alternative school. This change occurred despite significant support for her from the community. At a crowded Board of Education meeting, where this was voted on, every member of the board chose to reassign her even though many parents and community members showed their support.

Detailed Account of the Incident

The board meeting attracted many local residents and former students who expressed their backing for Dressback. A number of attendees displayed their distress during the gathering, and some showed unity by wearing green outfits.

Since February, Dressback had not been present at the school. Her absence since then fueled speculation and concern among townspeople. This situation worsened due to insufficient communication about her sudden nonappearance. We got some information from local officials about why she suddenly stopped being involved in school events.

Community Reaction and Responses

The meeting got intense as different community members like teachers and activists took their turns to support Dressback. Reverend Julie Conrady from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham spoke strongly against the board’s decision, linking it to discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. “This doesn’t uplift her. rather, you’re effectively telling her that being LGBTQ isn’t acceptable in Vestavia Hills,” she declared firmly.

  • Superintendent’s Assurance: Superintendent Todd Freeman tried to calm the audience, ensuring them that their decisions were impartial, covering race, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. “I can guarantee that all our decisions are carefully reviewed and made keeping in mind the legal requirements and board policies,” Freeman stated.
  • Legal Viewpoints: The board’s lawyer stated that their usual policy is to keep quiet about specific personnel issues, which made the audience even more upset.

Predictions and Ongoing Discussions

The board’s silence on why they reassigned Dressback led to widespread guessing and discontent in the community. Social media exploded with activity, with many supporting the principal through viral videos under #WeStandWithLauren.

At the meeting, there were rumors that Dressback was put on administrative leave soon after she shared her sexual orientation. Many thought this was why she was moved. But the board did not confirm or deny these rumors which made everything less clear.

Consequences of the Decision

The board’s action affected not only Dressback but also

The incident had a broad impact, altering how students and parents view the school’s commitment to inclusivity. “She is a bright light and is clearly missed,” commented Sandra Gonzales, whose child attends kindergarten at Cahaba Heights. Many noted that Dressback’s active participation in school events, such as attending IEP meetings and knowing each student by name, made her a cherished member of the school community.

The controversy has stirred interest beyond the local area, capturing the attention of state lawmakers and possibly influencing future policies of the school board as well as the overall environment within the school district.

Concluding Remarks

As the community looks for clear answers and support from the Vestavia Hills Board of Education, this situation serves as a stark reminder of the challenging balance that must be maintained between decisions made by school officials and community values. The case involving Lauren Dressback continues to spotlight these ongoing challenges faced by educational leaders, especially surrounding issues related to topics involving diversity and inclusion.

This dispute may affect how much the community trusts us and our school policies for a long time. It highlights why being clear and open in school leadership matters so much.

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