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Spring Columnist

Due January 5, 2020

Read the sample column attached below. Then, please write a sample column on the topic you would like your column to address, close to 500 words. It should not be heavily edited by someone other than you, and should you be accepted, it will be printed as your first column for the first paper that comes out in the spring semester. Good luck!

Sample Column (By Nebeyat Zekaryas in the Opinion section)

Like most US high school students, when I hear any mention of the SAT, I can’t help but cringe. Occasionally, I even get misty-eyed thinking of how many hours I have spent prepping for it. But how could I could not spend my weekends quizzing myself and learning the tricks of this much-anticipated exam?

I think that I remember the buzz around standardized testing starting in freshman year, maybe even earlier, from some very dedicated peers of mine. There were so many options to consider: a private tutor, the SAT classes offered at school, or just plain winging it. I myself chose the ever-popular route of toting around the huge blue-and-green book that the College Board is glad to sell to anyone for $21.99. An onlooker would assume that I had it together and was on top of the college process, when in reality, I had made zero progress.

On one Friday night in junior year, I brought the infamous book along to a babysitting gig. The father of the kids I was watching saw the cover and chuckled. He said that standardized testing was something he definitely did not miss about being a teenager. His six-year-old daughter must have felt left out of the conversation, because she demanded to know what the SAT was all about. He told her that the SAT stood for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. I was almost as confused as the little girl, because in my three years of high school, not one person had cared to inform me what the acronym even stood for.

That night, I decided to find out if there was anything else I did not know about this test that I had spent countless hours and hundreds of dollars on. You would not believe what I stumbled upon during my little research session. The creator of the SAT, one Mr. Carl Brigham, was a eugenicist. Yup — he believed that the white race was inherently more intelligent than other races, and dedicated his life to proving it. Eugenics is the belief or study that the human race can be improved by preventing the reproduction of people with inheritable and undesirable traits. In many cases, it was on the basis of race, because it was presumed that there were races that were more intelligent than others. The evidence used to support such claims was usually observable traits that people of one race share. Brigham based his test on the Alpha test, which was used to evaluate US military recruits during World War One. Through his “research”, Brigham concluded that the American education system was declining, and “[wanted to] proceed with an accelerating rate as the racial mixture became more and more extensive.”

It has been proven that SAT scores are directly correlated to household income: income goes up, and scores follow. There is something to be said about the fact that Asians and non-Hispanic whites have the highest median income in the US, along with the highest SAT scores. It is a lack of resources and opportunity, not an excess in melanin, that statistically has Black and Latino students scoring lower on the SAT. So when you find yourself looking down at the tear-soaked pages of your SAT book, just remember that your intelligence isn’t measured by a score, and that Carl Brigham, the father of the SAT, was in fact a racist.


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