Tucker Carlson hosted one of his favorite bigots, Heather Mac Donald, to rile up his white nationalist fan base by painting a College Board effort to take into account a student’s “adversity” as just another excuse to give lazy African Americans something they don’t deserve.
The so-called controversy seems – well, not very controversial. The New York Times explains:
The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam taken by about two million students a year, … announced on Thursday that it will include a new rating, which is widely being referred to as an “adversity score,” of between 1 and 100 on students’ test results. … The rating will not affect students’ test scores, and will be reported only to college admissions officials as part of a larger package of data on each test taker.
Colleges have long tried to bring diversity of all sorts to their student bodies, and they have raised concerns over whether the SAT, once seen as a test of merit, can be gamed by families who hire expensive consultants and tutors. Higher scores have been found to correlate with students from wealthier families and those with better-educated parents.
But if you’re Carlson or Mac Donald, a slight boost for less-advantaged students (blacks!) sends chills down your spine. Or at least, Carlson figured he could exploit the issue to his white nationalist admirers.
As for Mac Donald, she seems to view scolding African Americans as her mission in life. Naturally, Mac Donald sees an "adversity score" as something blacks just don’t deserve. Carlson, of course, was all ears:
MAC DONALD: We see every year in New York City that Asian kids from poor immigrant backgrounds whoop everybody's ass regardless of their income levels because their families, their parents are so relentlessly focused on their student’s academic involvement.
That is what is necessary to close the academic achievement gap. And until you get rid of the “acting white” syndrome, that stigmatizes academic achievement on the part of black students, unless we get rid of the preferences that black students know about that sends the message that they don't need to work as hard in order to get admitted to highly selective schools over their non-student of color peers with better scores, we are not going to close that academic achievement gap and we're going to be saddled with this scourge of diversity which is simply a way to dismantle precisely the color blind meritocratic standards that are a key to any society's success.
[The College Boards is going] full speed ahead into the excuse-making grievance industry [and] is simply what you would expect from anybody involved in higher education in this country.
Again, all of this is driven by the fact that there's a standard deviation of difference in SAT scores between blacks and whites. A difference that is not determined by family income. In fact according to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, whites from households that make $10,000 or less on average score better than black students in the SAT who come from households making $80,000 to $100,000. So again Tucker, this is all about culture. And for the College Board to be getting behind the idea that it’s about white privilege is completely fallacious and a tragic disservice to the country.
Carlson closed, saying, “Yeah, it doesn’t do a lot for our society at all, I would say.”
Watch this discussion from the May 16, 2019 Tucker Carlson White Power Hour also known as Tucker Carlson Tonight, via Media Matters.
I had to dig to find the 15 adversity score factors:
If Tucker would forget his knee-jerk white nationalist assumptions for a moment he might realize many in Trump’s rural MAGA base likely will benefit from most of these adversity score factors. The irony!
I’m not really a fan of an adversity score, despite Yale boasting it doubled low income and first generation admissions. Because it’s forcing a result while masking the underlying problems.
Anecdotally – but I imagine it’s pretty typical – blacks in my metropolitan area are concentrated in public inner city schools. Unsurprisingly, they mostly suck – with the exception of a magnet high school and maybe two remaining neighborhood elementary schools. Some are unaccredited by the state. Physical plants are in such poor shape the city is planning to tear them down and build new ones – if it can find the means from its relatively meager tax base. Most kids are more focused on food insecurity than academics. And on and on….
Handicapping SAT scores so a couple of inner city kids get into top schools leaves the many thousands behind in academic squalor. And if the results succeed in balancing the diversity on some college campuses enough to give the appearance of equality of access there’s too much of a temptation to declare “mission accomplished” when it’s far from the truth.
I also find it richly ironic that the beneficiaries of an adversity score will eventually become it’s biggest victims. Because that hypothetical inner city kid who gets enough of a score bump to get into an ivy league school will undoubtedly convert their degree into easy success – since it opens all doors. So their kids, in turn, will get a 1 score based on household income, parental income, housing value, (private?) school quality, etc. Well, maybe their parents will divorce so they’ll get a point credit for single-parent household. Score it a 2. (Note 100-point scale with 100 being most disadvantaged, 50 average).