Let's start today's roundup with Jimmy Margulies on the new, revised, please-keep-requiring-them SATs, the makers of which have now decided to drop the college-bound-level vocabulary portion and reset the top score back to 1600, having previously stopped asking kids to show their reasoning powers through analogies.
You remember the analogies, right?
SATS:high score::Youth Soccer:
A. professional career
B. World Cup
C. full scholarship
D. Participation trophy
The efforts of the College Board to keep their fading cash cow relevant are understandable, starting in the '90s with changing "Scholastic Aptitude Test" to "Scholastic Assessment Test" to "it doesn't stand for anything, dammit, but you still have to take it."
I've seen a few articles defending the SAT, saying it's still the best predictor of college success, but I've got two reactions to that.
1. Bullfeathers. I had massive SAT scores and mediocre grades, probably for the same reason I can blurt out all the answers on "Jeopardy!" but my apartment looks like it was tossed by some very angry cops.
Sustained effort is not in my ADHD makeup, and being able to test highly is not the same as being able to show up every day. I not only replicated my lousy high school grades in college, but managed to lower them and nearly flunked out.
2. While I suspect a professorial reluctance to condemn my sorry slacker ass to a stint in Southeast Asia was behind a few of my passing grades 40 years ago, the era also saw a massive growth in college enrollments, only some of which could be traced to the II-S deferment.
I remember a conservative friend in 1970 groaning over a lawsuit in which a student had successfully challenged a failing (junior) college grade on the basis that she had perfect attendance and did all her homework. I don't think things have gotten any better in that regard.
Today, the mantra of "college for all" is one of the great frauds that drives one portion of the economy at the expense of several others, and certainly at the (personal) expense of our kids, who are being hoodwinked into unnecessary debt for unnecessary credentials.
Which is to say that, (1) back when college might, indeed, expose you to the works of Shakespeare and require you to know a few things before you arrived, the SATs were still a poor predictor of your eventual performance.
However, (2) now that they lowered the bar to the point where you need a metal detector to even find the damn thing, the SAT is an excellent predictor.
So is an EEG. If you can score at all on either of those rigorously scientifical tests, you'll probably be able to get a diploma somewhere.
In light of which today's Pearls Before Swine nearly qualifies to run alongside Margulies as a "Juxtaposition of the Day."
War on Peas
Instead that honor goes to these strips, to which I can only say, "Let there be peas on earth and let it begin with P."
And speaking of odd tastes
I used to love baseball until I spent time in a newsroom surrounded by fantasy league nerds who sucked every possible bit of joy out of the game. Today's A&J reminded me of a Rick Reilly rant, and it's not even this one. Apparently, Reilly returns to the "dear lord this game is boring" theme fairly often and I can't find the one I had in mind.
I didn't realize how often he says it because, well, I stopped reading rants about how boring baseball is. Got a little too meta, y'know?
But, anyway, the one I linked to is relevant to Janis's position on the sport, with which I concur.
And this really is the Juxtaposition of the Day