SAT Scores a Good Indicator of Future Success?

ImageWhat?

There are a number of things that SAT scores claim to indicate. It has been argued that the scores indicate a students’ innate ability, knowledge gained in schooling, and potential success in college, among other things. The College Board suggests that the verbal section is meant for students show a comprehension of vocabulary and discourse while the math section is meant to show an understanding of complex mathematical concepts and problem solving. 

The data on SAT scores is collected by Educational Testing Service as well as The College Board and is used by countless institutions. Essentially, new data is collected on SAT scores with every test that is taken. There are a great deal of studies conducted on the data received through SAT testing. For example, some recent studies focused on the correlation between scores and college retention, predicting success at four-year universities, and the relationship between socioeconomic status and SAT scores. It is important that the Board provides this data because it is useful to so many people. 

So what?

SAT scores as an indicator are incredibly interesting because of the importance placed on them by so many people. High school seniors see SAT scores as their ticket into college, university admissions officers view them as a way to judge a students aptitude, and parents of potential students might view SAT scores as a way for their child to receive scholarships and save money. SAT scores draw attention to some of the issues brought on by higher education in general.

The issues brought to my attention are not necessarily directly from SAT scores but more derived from the importance placed on them. There has been great emphasis placed on these scores, and for the most part their significance has only grown. However, some feel that a standardized test is not the best way to conceptualize the abilities of a student. Can a number truly represent the entirety of a person’s scholastic knowledge? It has been suggested by numerous scholars that perhaps all students who have potential to succeed in a college setting do not necessarily test well. These students are therefore forced to attend a lower accredited university, if any. The focus on SAT scores and achieving that 1600 (or 2400 on the newest version of the test), or for achieving whatever score gets a student into any given institution cannot be ignored. 

Now what?

Texas has specifically had a problem with test scores an overall inability to be successful in college. So how do they fix it? MORE TESTS! They’re adding placement tests to the already incredible amount of standardized testing the students and teachers are suffering through. This can’t be the right answer.  We’ve all heard teachers complaining about having to teach to the standardized tests. How much is that hurting our innovative and creative capacities?I feel the answer lies at a much more fundamental level. Change is this arena is a long time coming and it will probably be a while before major change is made, but it’s happening slowly. For example, my hometown has opened a high school that for the more creative type, many of whom have trouble with standardized testing. They allow them invaluable creative outlets while also providing academic lessons on par with the standards of learning seen in traditional schools.

See also: the effects of the pressure to perform 

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What? Concern over healthcare in this country has increased

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What? 

Concern over healthcare in this country has increased greatly over the past decade. As many hot button issues go, the nation is very polarized in its response to the issue. But it is one that cannot be ignored. There must be some balance, a middle ground. If that middle ground is to established, I’m not convinced there will be an significant change to the way things are going. 

So What?

Today, I read an article concerning this debate and was shocked by the numbers I was reading. 53 million who did not go to the doctor? 50 million that did not get their prescription filled? 49 million that failed to follow recommended care? In my opinion, those are staggering numbers. Even doctors are echoing these concerns, stating that prescription prices are just too high and very out of their necessary range. How are they supposed to do their job when their patients are unable to pay for the solution? The Affordable Care Act is supposed to be the answer to many of these problems when it is fully implemented in 2014, but the very obvious backlash from opposers seems to weaken it’s political viability. 

Now what? 

There is a desperate need for some balance between the incredibly divergent opinions concerning this problem. I have friends who are doctors and shared stories about their patient’s families leaving their dying grandmother on life support so that they can cash her welfare check at the end of the month. I’ve also heard stories of women who have died of breast cancer just weeks after their diagnosis because they couldn’t afford to go to the doctor…so they waiting until they were in unbearable pain to go to the emergency room. Where is the balance between these two alternatives? Neither is fair.

As a potential change leader in the field of healthcare, I hope we find that balance soon. But how? Collaboration is an obvious tool in leading social change. And sometimes that collaboration has to take place out of our comfort zone in order to be effective. It might be uncomfortable and it might seem complex, but the collaboration of these two opposing sides brings a level of comprehension of the issue that is necessary for effectiveness. 

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Partnerships That Drive Change

What? 
This week, Goldsmith informed us of Joel Klein and his partnership with Mayor Bloomberg, discussing the relationship between the public and private sector, describing the relationship as a “textbook example of government partnering with civic entrepreneurs to help drive change” (204). I have had the opportunity to research a number of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) as well as be a part of one through a contract between the City of Roanoke, the Conflict Resolution Center, and the Roanoke Rescue MIssion.  Research and experience has greatly enhanced my knowledge of P3s and their effectiveness. 
So what?
Public-Private partnerships have become increasingly popular over time because of the many benefits that they offer. One of the most sought after benefits deals with the financial aspect of the partnerships. The economic benefits of merging the resources have allowed innumerable tasks to be accomplished that would not have been accomplished otherwise simply because of financial constraints. P3s combine the “knowledge and skills of business, government, planning, and community development in a collaborative manner and in many cases achieves a form of citizen-driven governance” (Suchman, 1995). P3s also enable partners to be better equipped for dealing with multisectoral problems with the expanded area of expertise offered by a greater number of actors. Lastly, the obvious benefits of sharing risk and responsibility for whatever the network wishes to accomplish. 
Because leaders in the community realized the potential benefit of a P3, a partnership was formed (in order to deal with a great deal of conflict arisen). The P3 I was contracted under allowed for openness in the community, a collaborative discussion, a chance for citizens to be heard, and incredible movement toward social change in the community. 
What now? 
As we learned in the readings this week, an important question to ask as a change leader is “How might a community mix exciting and successful social innovations with the best of its existing civic capacity to dramatically improve life for its residents?” (Goldsmith, 199). One of the best ways to understand the civic capacity and understand the life of residents is to get involved with them, be on there level and share your vision with all who are interested. Yes data from constituents is useful and those who have a radical opinion about the proposed change will be sure that their voices are heard. But in order to truly understand what can and should be done, there has be be some connection with the community. A P3 serves as an excellent way to do just that, allowing a network to form and opportunities to grow. 

Police in Schools: What is their role?

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What?
In the wake of numerous acts of school violence, especially in recent decades, many parents, teachers, students, etc. have begged for larger police presence on school grounds. In the hopes of increasing security and safety, law enforcement on school campuses has become the norm for most school districts across the nation. While I do feel that there presence is warranted and necessary, there seems to be some backlash from their being there. 
Hundreds of thousands of students, maybe even millions, are being arrested for things that were once handled in the principles offices. I read a number of stories in which students were arrested for the smallest of “crimes” (i.e. farting in class, spraying perfume, arguing (mind you this level of arguing is more debate-like and did not involve any level of abuse, verbal or physical)). So how did the tables turn so quickly? How did students go from being kids to criminals?  
So what?

As stated previously, the crimes many students are being arrested for were once handled by school officials. Students are still receiving detention, suspension, and other forms of punishment for their actions, but many are being arrested without even considering the consequences their arrest might have on their life. The fines alone can be the difference of some poorer families being able to afford their rent, electricity, food. But even more than that, we know that having a criminal record is a slippery slope for many adolescents. Furthermore, students and parents (many of whom do not have legal aid) plead guilty in the hopes of simply putting the matter to rest, not realizing the consequences it will bring. See the following disconnect between what we should be doing vs. what is happening now for an example of these consequences. 

The Disconnect: 

“Our purpose is to push these kids into college, not into the criminal justice system.” (Eckholm, 2013) – With Police in Schools, More Children in Court

vs.

‘”Once you pay it, that’s a guilty plea and that’s on your record,” said Simpkins. “In the US we have these astronomical college and university expenses and you go to fill out the application to get your federal aid for that and it says have you ever been arrested. And there you are, no aid.”‘ (McGreal, 2012) – The US schools with their own police

There seems to be a difference in the planning for policies for police presence in schools and the implementation of those resources officers. Surely, the policies weren’t intended to have such defective effects, but they have.
What now? 
Perhaps it would be best to reevaluate the policies and the roles of these officers. They are there for a reason, so they absolutely should be used when necessary–but there’s more work to be done in deciding when that should be. In the articles shared, I also read about many police forces that are trying to better equip their men and women to better determine when arrests are necessary, teaching them the difference between a scuffle and an assault. Additionally, the use of student juries and school administrators to better deal with the more trivial issues should be considered. Resource officers can still do their job in reporting them, but an official arrest would not be necessary. With the increasing number of law enforcement officials in school, these options should be considered immediately. 

 

photo source: clutch mag online 

 
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What?
Just last week, my roommate and I were discussing interfaith relationships, undoubtedly perplexed by the notion of spending the rest of your life with someone with whom you would not be spending eternity (whatever that eternity is, according to your religion). Then I stumbled an article on the NYT website that discussed this same dilemma. After this discovery, my inquiries led to a number of other books, articles, etc. that described the many benefits as well as those that explained the potential risks of entering into an interfaith relationship and subsequent marriage. I am pleased to say that this research allowed me to gain a much deeper understanding of interfaith relationships, marriages, and families. 
 
So what? 
At a time such as this, the ins and outs, ups and downs, and every detail of what is and what is not a marriage are on the tips of many tongues. Regardless of your beliefs on religion, marriage, and the interplay between the two, it’s hard to ignore the social change that is taking place right now. However relevant, this discussion does not concern marriage rights, DOMA, or Prop 8. That is another conversation for another time. I introduce those ideas to recognize the relevance of this article being published now. The timing of these articles reminded me of Cawsey’s discussion concerning the importance of situation for change to take place. Perhaps that is why I was so quickly to find many recent articles concerning interfaith message, because those in interfaith marriages recognize that people are truly contemplating what “marraige” means and they feel that they have a  voice to be heard during this time. Whether their story is focused on religion, marriage, whatever, they are better able to grab people’s attention. 
 
Now what?
Unlike many of my other posts, this topic does not suggest that change should take place. It is, however, the recognition of change that has taken place over time. Generally, most of the information I found on interfaith marriages suggested that we need to realize how beneficial important conversations can be. As stated previously, I found quite a few articles written by those in interfaith marriages. Many of the authors suggested that they, along with others in interfaith marriages/families, are uniquely qualified to be leaders. They have incredibly differing stories that allow them to relate to a number of groups and able to lead conversations that many others may not be able to. 
 
Please visit these links to hear others’ perspectives on interfaith marriage. 
Winds of Change
IFM in America

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