USA Today: Gates is Honestly Confused?

In one paragraph, Columbia professor Samuel G. Freedman congratulates Gates for bringing

“intellectual honesty” to the admissions debate. In another paragraph, Freedman says that although

Gates asks the right questions, he gives the wrong answers. See the paragraphs below. Is Gates

honestly confused? [Quote:] Gates of Texas A&M asked the right questions, even if he gave the wrong

answers. He recognized that the college admissions system is profoundly flawed. He erred in continuing

to trust standardized tests and thinking that, without racial or legacy considerations, the playing

field would be level.

It never can be perfectly level, and we should operate on that

assumption. If we give up the notion that merit can be measured by a test, and if we acknowledge that

many variables contribute to an applicant’s prospects and to his or her ultimate value to a college,

we can bring integrity and sanity back to the admissions process.

Diversity should be a

plus; so should legacy, high grades and many other factors. Once we unshackle ourselves from this

belief in statistical objectivity – once we plainly say that admissions decisions are an art, not a

science – we can lay to rest the merit-vs.-race argument and save millions of high school kids and

their parents from the collective nervous breakdown that applying to college has

become.

I know this new way can work, because I have experienced it. As a faculty member

at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, I have operated in just such an

unapologetically subjective system for a dozen years. Our program consciously has refused to require

standardized tests because of our conviction that they largely tell us who had enough money to pay for

Princeton Review or Kaplan courses.[end quote, USA Tdoay, Jan.

22]

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