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Once Again, Money Takes The Prize...

Standardized Testing. The phrase is powerful, unbelievably powerful. It makes us tremble like there's an earthquake, shake like a leaf in the wind, and quiver like the whiskers of a mouse hiding from a cat. Yes, believe me, it's that powerful. And it deserves that astronomical power; it can proudly claim the responsibility of helping to decide where we will be residing and learning for the next four years after high school. So no doubt, it deserves it.

When the various standardized tests were created, (ACT, SAT, etc.) they were intended to level the playing field for all students. They were the great equalizers, not subject to the grading scale of a teacher at this school versus that school. Each test would be a blueprint of the same level of questions followed by the same team of graders. And a 1900 would be the same 1900 whether you lived in Maryland or Texas, had brown eyes or blue eyes, were rich or poor, or were Muslim or Catholic. A 1900 would be a 1900, a true test of your natural intelligence. And I would agree, it seems like having a standardized test, the same for every student, would be a good idea, a fair idea. But the more I've thought about this revolutionary idea, the more I've realized how once again, anybody with money can easily become somebody. Once again, money has taken control.

Families with wallets a little too thick to fit comfortably in their back pockets routinely hire tutors or enroll their kids in review classes for standardized tests. And why shouldn't they? They've worked hard, earned the money, and deserve to be able to spend it in any way they desire. True, but sad. Sad for the kids whose parents' wallets are thin enough to easily slide into their back pockets, with plenty of extra room to spare. The very essence of standardized tests, tests that supposedly measure each student's aptitude equally, is destroyed, torn from its roots and viciously trampled over by stampedes of inequality. Wealthier students tend to score higher, are accepted into more competitive colleges, secure higher paying careers, and therefore perpetuate the cycle of the wealthy stomping over the poor. Standardized tests, which were designed to be the great equalizer, are transformed into just another semblance of society that caters to the thicker wallets. And it's not right. How can even one of the few programs designed with no prejudice hidden behind it so easily lapse into the cycle of the wealthy? Why does this seem to be the fate of even the most well-intentioned institutions in our country?

It's because money will always take the prize. Always.




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