Ken Blackwell

Efforts to eliminate such standards in education come from outside academia as well. Political activist groups like Fair Test and others advocating the end of standardized testing for college admission do so not for academic reasons but because doing so meshes with the defined political agenda of liberal control over academia. This is done by preaching to students and educators about the false politics of entitlement over the practical necessity of achievement. Test-optional policies promoted by such groups serve no purpose other than to blur the lines of scholarship while destroying empirical standards of education and the definition of academic merit.

Wherever standards are destroyed and merit is redefined, a sense of entitlement necessarily follows. This is true in any aspect of society. In the field of education, it manifests itself in the demand by students for high grades when they are not earned. Aaron Brower, vice provost for teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, summed up the need for empirical measures, telling the New York Times, "Unless teachers are very intentional with our goals, we play into the system in place."

The same can be said of test optional admission policies at America's colleges. Presenting students with uncertain and imprecise standards for admission plays into this growing sense of entitlement. It stands to reason that, if the standards for admission to college are subject to holistic whims, so too should be the grades given to students. The end result is a workforce that is less able to contribute to and compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.

The American economy today is under stress because of a recession. Recessions ebb and flow over time, but a failure to provide the highest caliber education and demand excellence from those who seek it poses a far larger threat. Students may receive higher grades by simply demanding them, but America will not succeed economically just because we want rewards without results. It's time to align our education priorities with economic realities.

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
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