Education for Sale

Lilly Thompson, Online Editor

As someone who has taken College Board tests on no less than six separate occasions in the last year, I would say that I’m pretty qualified to talk about the SAT. Ah, the SAT. The test that strikes fear into the heart of any teenager. Four hours of mind-numbing questions, number two pencils, and stress. The test that every college says doesn’t matter that much!

I’ve taken the SAT so many times that I would go as far to say that I have the process down to a science. It goes something like this: first, pay an ungodly amount of money for practice books, tutoring sessions and prep classes. Then, convince yourself that you’ll study more than you actually will. Wake up at un ungodly hour of the morning to join other sleep deprived teenagers at the test center of your choice. Next, size up the other test-takers in your classroom. Which kid looks the most confident? The most annoying? Who’s going to get that 1600? Now, take the test. Try

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a classroom at Seattle Central College, furiously darkening multiple choice bubbles, when something struck me. Why was I doing it? What was the point? Sure, you need to have a good score to get into college, prove that you can take a test, yadda yadda, but what was the real purpose behind the test? The people in the classroom, and hundreds of kids I stood in line with that morning were all here for the same thing, but we weren’t really getting anything out of the experience, except a number that will follow us around for the rest of our lives. who was the puppet master guiding teenagers to take a test on the first of every month? The answer lay on the corner of my paper: the College Board.

Unfair curve? Oh, well. Test leaked? Not their problem! Petitions from angry high schoolers who dedicated their time and money to the test? That’s cute. The College Board could care less about the people actually taking their tests. They’re rolling around in cash while broke students pour their hearts (and wallets) into succeeding at something that’s set up for their failure. In 2011, the organization paid their CEO $1.3 million. Clearly, the “nonprofit” label is undeserved. For students, this experience is their first foray into the cold world of higher education. Instead of feeling supported by institutions, the reality of the system is crippling debt and

Here at Prep, we are privileged. Many of us can afford to foot the bill that will prepare us better for the test. We have a rigorous curriculum that sets us up well to face academic challenges. For many others, that’s not the case. The standardized testing system is set up so that kids with money often do better.

So the next time you’re sitting in a random classroom staring down those little bubbles, think about what’s behind the test. Consider who is writing those questions, and who’s profiting off of your education.