Furr, Letter to Montclarion April 21 1994, on SAT Tests


To the Editorial Editor:

The Montclarion

Montclair State College

Upper Montclair, NJ 07043

Dear Madam:

The notion of "reverse racism" -- that undeserving non-white students are being admitted to MSC and other colleges because of "lowering the standards" -- is completely false. Jason Alders (letter, April 14) has been misled about the nature of the quali fications or standards that are used for admission into college. These standards are racist and elitist ones. They hurt all working-class students, whites and non-whites alike.

College admissions "standards" at MSC are made up of High School grades and SAT scores. HS grades are the best predictor of college success. If HS grades alone were used for college admissions, the top s tudents at mainly minority HSs would be treated the same, for college admissions purposes, as the top students at wealthy suburban, or private, or any other HSs.

The result would be FAR MORE NON-WHITE STUDENTS at MSC and other colleges than there are today. There would also be FAR MORE POOR AND WORKING-CLASS WHITE STUDENTS in the colleges. That would be fairer, to o. Citizens in working-class, poorer, inner-city, and non-white areas pay property and state taxes, so they deserve the same degree of access to public colleges.

But in a capitalist system everything is always stacked in favor of the rich. One example is college admissions. SAT scores are merged with HS grades to create a racist and elitist result.

The "Scholastic Aptitude Tests" (SATs) are a fraud. There is no such thing as "scholastic aptitude." This is simply the name the test-makers long ago gave this test. It sounds "scientific", and so it inti midates ordinary people from understanding what is really going on.

SAT scores "predict" family income and race far more accurately than they do anything else, including college performance. On average, the higher the family income, the higher the SAT score. As between races, on average whites do better at every income level than latins and blacks.

The tests, then, serve to perpetuate the status quo, in which the wealthy get the benefits while the working class, black, latins, and white, get cheated. At the same time the SATs dupe the public into be lieving that wealthier students, who get higher scores, are "more deserving", while all others, but especially non-whites, are "undeserving." The SATs perpetuate the illusion of "equal opportunity" while di sguising the reality of privilege.

Most dangerous, the SATs create racist divisions among students by suggesting that black and latin students are "less qualified" because they receive lower scores on these racist tests. Having been taught the racist lie that "scholastic aptitude" exists, and that blacks and latins have "less" of it than whites, many white students draw the conclusion it has been intended for them to draw -- that many non-white students are "undeserving."

This racism is essentially no different than that of Hitler or the Ku Klux Klan. And it has the same purpose and result -- to divide black, latin and white students against one another, in order to preven t their uniting together to fight for better conditions, including lower tuition and open admissions.

Grover Furr, Assistant Professor of English

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Furr, "letter to The Montclarion on SAT tests, 21 Apr 1994" / furrg@alpha.montclair.edu / HTML'd by GF 2 Feb 1996