June 9, 2017

FIGHT INEQUALITY: How Elites Protect Their Status: Private School Edition.

In National Review, Gabriel Rossman delivers a much-needed skewering of the latest frontier in the “holistic” assessment fad overtaking elite education: The effort by America’s most prestigious prep schools to eliminate transcripts and replace them with jargon-filled written evaluations of each student. Rossman rightly notes that despite its veneer of fairness and the high-minded social justice-y language used to sell it, the effort to downplay old-fashioned measures of academic merit is really about protecting the already-privileged. Objective tools like grades and test scores have long been an important tool for distinguishing the talentless elite from upstart competitors from below; “soft” assessments, by contrast, often make it easier for the wealthy and well-connected to navigate the system. . . .

All elites justify their claims to power using the accepted language of their age. When the early and mid-20th century WASPs wanted to devise a system that would restrict entry to business and political establishment, the Ivy League adopted admissions criteria like character and breeding and fitness to lead. Today’s diverse, socially liberal elite instead wraps its claim to rulership in the mantle of individuality and social justice. So the past few decades have seen an ever-expanding push for “holistic” evaluations that recognize the ways that each student is special and unique. But the ultimate goal is the same: to consolidate the existing upper-class’s prerogatives while pretending to advance the common good.

Hence all the racism against Asians in the Ivy League.

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