Dismantling The Meritocracy (Cont.)—Lowering Standards For Students, Lawyers, And Cops
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Earlier: The Not So Great Reset: Lowering Standards, Parts 312 And 313

I wrote at some length in my November Diary about what I called ”dismantling the meritocracy.” Standards are being lowered—or abandoned completely—all over, even for admission to medical schools and law schools, all in the effort to advance ”equity”—equal outcomes by race and sex.

Here is more news on that front. Columbia University told us on Wednesday that it will no longer require applicants to send SAT or ACT scores for undergraduate admissions.

This is not actually a new thing for Columbia. With the COVID panic making a lot of traditional test sites unavailable in 2020, Columbia, along with a lot of other schools, suspended the SAT/ACT requirement. They continued the suspension through to this year. Now, with the panic well and truly over, they could have ended the suspension; instead, they’ve made it permanent.

Why? Equity, of course.

Columbia dressed it all up in administrative word salad, of course. Here is their actual March 1st explanation:

The holistic and contextual application review process for Columbia College … is rooted in the belief that students are dynamic, multi-faceted individuals who cannot be defined by any single factor. Our review is purposeful and nuanced—respecting varied backgrounds, voices and experiences—in order to best determine an applicant’s suitability for admission and ability to thrive in our curriculum and our community, and to advance access to our educational opportunities. We have designed our application to afford the greatest possible opportunity and flexibility for students to represent themselves fully and showcase their academic talents, interests and goals. Standardized testing is not a required component of our application.

Columbia is Test-Optional, March 1, 2023

A key word in these baloney specials is ”holistic.” I knew it would show up although I didn’t think it would actually feature as the second word in Columbia’s announcement.

Eleven years ago I reviewed Andrew Ferguson’s book Crazy U, about the trials and troubles he went through getting his kids into college. Here’s a quote from my review

The whole thing is done with zest, wit, and a pleasingly reductionist approach to the Edsperanto jargon with which colleges obfuscate their aims and methods. Ferguson closes a long paragraph on ”holistic” admissions with the observation: ”A more practical and accurate term for holistic admissions is ’completely subjective.’” Which I think we all kind of knew.

Oh, here’s another one. This is from Fox News, March 2nd, headline: Delaware lowers passing score on bar exam in push for racial diversity.

Quotes from the story:

The 200-question multiple-choice exam will be offered twice instead of once a year beginning in 2024—and its passing score will be lowered from 145 to 143 …

The number of essays on the exam will be decreased from eight to four, and the number of essay topics will be reduced from 14 to 10.

The clerkship requirement is also being lowered from 21 weeks to 12 weeks, and the mandatory list of 25 legal proceedings that potential lawyers must attend has been shortened to 18 out of 30 possible items.

It’s happening all over, and not just in the academy. This week we learned that the New York City Police Department, the NYPD, has lowered the fitness requirement for police recruits. Up to now recruits have had to complete a one-and-a-half-mile run in 14 minutes, 21 seconds. That requirement has now been altogether dropped.

That seems to have concluded a nasty little spat between two black ladies: Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, right, and Chief of Training for the NYPD Juanita Holmes. (Below left) Commissioner Sewell wanted to keep the test; Chief Holmes wanted to drop it.

She told the New York Post that the one-and-a-half-mile run requirement was holding back otherwise qualified candidates—especially women, who now make up about a fifth of the force. Apparently she won the fight, though we haven’t been told how much of Commissioner Sewell’s hair she had to pull out for her triumph.

(What, you thought the New York Police Department was run by beefy rubicund guys named Kelly and O’Shaughnessy? Yeah, once upon a time it was <sigh>.)

And there’s a bit more to it than just a clash of female wills. Like other big cities, New York has become more and more reluctant to punish criminals, meaning that police work has become more and more frustrating. Cops have been leaving the force in droves, leaving the city desperate for recruits.

Scoffing at critics who deplored the drop in standards, Chief Juanita Holmes said

No cop on patrol runs a mile and a half. No one’s chasing anyone a mile and a half.

Perhaps not, but New York City cops have been running as fast as they can to the Pension Office at Police HQ, or out to more rewarding law-enforcement work in other jurisdictions.

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