There is nothing wrong with the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). For one thing it is neither a pass nor fail test. Kids don’t have to take it if they do not wish to (Dr. Wardell, please correct me on this if I am mistaken). You pay to take it and it is used by the colleges to help them determine a student’s admissibility. The SAT is given all over the U.S. on the same date. A perfect score is 800. The better one does, the more learned one is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching one to do well on an exam that demonstrates one’s preparedness for adult life. If colleges evaluated a student’s admissibility based on his high school grades they could make great admissions errors. There are high schools that have higher GPAs than others but whose students, when tested on an even playing field using the SAT, do more poorly than high schools with kids with lower GPAs. That tells you something about the quality of a particular school.

Most all of my education was in New York, a state with many of the best-performing high schools in the country. The high schools in New York do not give the final exam ... the state does ... and every kid in the state takes the same test on the same day. What better way to achieve an objective analysis of student performance than to have the tests scored and evaluated by disinterested parties. If the state-administered TAKS test tests the kids for life skills, what is wrong with that? If they ask the child to recite “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, then I have a problem. As a kid I took physics, chemistry, biology (where we learned about, God forbid, evolution), calculus, trigonometry, geometry, algebra, state history, U.S. history, world history and Spanish, which I speak fluently. Then the state tested me. I may not use much of those course teachings to any great degree today but they taught me how to think objectively, analytically and critically. I also know how to say beer in Spanish.

I also want the school system to know that I fully support the passage of the bond election for the future of our kids and the economic future of Jacksonville.

Mike McEwen,


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