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College Board Drops Plans for SAT “Adversity Score” After Criticism

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  • The College Board is dropping its “adversity score,” which gave SAT test-takers a single score that captured their social and economic backgrounds.
  • Many were concerned about how the information was calculated and upset about the fact that students were unable to view their score.
  • The plan is now being replaced with a new system called Landscape, which still records factors about a student’s background but will not give a numerical score or keep the information from students.

What is an Adversity Score?

The College Board announced Tuesday that it is dropping its plan to give SAT test-takers an “adversity score” that measures a student’s socioeconomic hardship.

Prevous coverage on college admissions scandal.

The reversal comes after much backlash from university officials and parents, and amid scrutiny over the role wealth plays in the college acceptance process after the massive college admissions scandal exposed earlier this year. 

The original tool, called the “environmental context dashboard,” was announced in May and was intended to asses the kind of background a student came from based on about 15 different factors, including neighborhood crime rates, family income, what percentage of students receive free or reduced meals in a community, and more. 

All of those metrics were then used to create one score on a scale of 1 to 100 called an “adversity score,” with a score of 50 considered average, and numbers above 50 indicating more hardship.

Previous coverage

Considering a student’s socioeconomic background in this way was introduced as an effort to allow colleges to view a student’s SAT results in the context of the conditions of where that student lives and learns. Many viewed the plan as the College Board acknowledging the long-running criticism of using grades and tests alone in admissions, without considering unequal access to advanced coursework, high priced tutors and prep classes, or other advantages. 

The idea with this new plan was that if a student had overcome major economic challenges to earn their score, that information should be known by admissions officials. David Coleman, chief executive officer of the College Board, told CNN in May the score would better capture student’s “resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less.”

Fifty colleges used the adversity score last year as part of a beta test. The College Board had planned to expand it to 150 institutions this fall, and then use it broadly the following year. The score did not take a student’s race into account, but during the pilot testing, data results showed that the tool boosted nonwhite enrollment. 

Many of the scores critics were concerned about how the information was calculated and were also uncomfortable with the fact that the score could not be viewed by students and families.

But now Coleman says that compiling all of that information down to just one number is problematic. 

New System

“The idea of a single score was confusing because it seemed that all of a sudden the College Board was trying to score adversity. That’s not the College Board’s mission,” Coleman said. “The College Board scores achievement, not adversity.”

Instead, the College Board says it has revised the tool, which has been renamed Landscape. This new system will still provide admissions officials with information about a student’s background. However, Colemen says these data points will not be given a score and they will be made available to students and families.

“Within a year, we’ll be able for every family and student, on their College Board account, to show them their neighborhood and school information transparently,” he said.

The College Board says it will record general data about a student’s high school, including locale, senior class size, percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, average SAT scores, and AP participation and performance. They will also provide colleges with data about a student’s neighborhood and school based on six key factors. Those factors are college attendance, household structure, median family income, housing stability, education levels, and crime rates. 

College officials will each be able to view that information, along with SAT scores, and perform their own analysis. “We’ll leave the interpretation to the admission’s officer,” Coleman said. “In other words, we’re leaving a lot more room for judgment.”

On its website’s FAQ section, the College Board says this new system, “simply helps admissions officers better understand the high schools and neighborhoods applicants come from. It does not help them understand an applicant’s individual circumstances—their personal stories, hardships, or home life.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, this is now the second time the College Board has walked back on efforts to collect information on a students’ social and economic backgrounds. It dropped a similar effort called Stivers 20 years ago amid pushback from colleges, though critics say the “adversity score” system relied on better research and did not include race.

See what others are saying: (NPR) (The Wall Street Journal) (Fox News)


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Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days

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The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.


Centner Academy Vaccination Policy

A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.

According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.

“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.

“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.

According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”

In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.

Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.

Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation

In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”

“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.

The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.

In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.

According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.

The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.

See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)

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Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem

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Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.


Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg

In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism. 

Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.

“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.

Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice

“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.

According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject. 

Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out. 

Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.

See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)

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Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids

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The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.


DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.

The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.

In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.” 

Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.

In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”

Labor Market Implications

The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.

Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.

According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.

“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”

It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.

The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.

That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (ABC News)

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