The Hypocrisy of a School Counselor Defending the SAT Adversity Index Concept

SAT Adversity Index, Concept of SAT Adversity Index, SAT Adversity Score
We said the SAT Adversity Index wouldn’t last long. It was announced in May 2019 and eliminated in August 2019.

When The College Board announced its newly devised SAT Adversity Index back in May, we slammed it and announced it wouldn’t be around long. We slammed it on the pages of our college admissions blog. We slammed it in newspapers and magazines. We slammed it on national television. We used our soapbox in college admissions to get out the word that this so-called Adversity Index would serve the organization vying for marketshare in the testing industry, College Board, but it would not serve the interests of college applicants. We’re proud to say the SAT Adversity Index is no more; it was eliminated not long after it was first announced.

A High School Counselor Continues to Espouse the Importance of the Concept Behind the SAT Adversity Index

But it seems some folks aren’t done just yet championing the importance of the spirit of the SAT Adversity Index, including one of the handful of villains of this college admissions blog (yes, we’ve got heroes and villains to always keep things interesting!) — a hypocritical high school counselor named Brennan Barnard who has a history of, we believe, not telling it like it is. In his latest longwinded diatribe, this time in The Washington Post, Mr. Barnard writes, “Lost in the criticism is that the index is right in concept. It works to make an unconscionably unjust process more just, to level the playing field for students facing disadvantages. It’s not fair to ignore these disadvantages when assessing students’ grades and test scores. And when it comes to the SAT in particular, the deck is wildly stacked. Some students have access to great schools and high-priced SAT tutors starting in the ninth grade, while many other students not only lack access to tutors but are crammed into classrooms with too many students and far too few basic school resources and supports.”

The Hypocrisy of That High School Counselor’s Support for the Concept Behind the SAT Adversity Index

So, Mr. Barnard, you believe that college admissions officers need a number to be able to gauge the disadvantages a student has faced in his or her lifetime? You believe college admissions officers don’t have the ability to understand that some students from more affluent backgrounds are able to afford test prep while other students are not? You believe a number tells the story of a child being raised by a single mom working two jobs in Inglewood, California? You believe that a number assigned by a private company to a college applicant will help even the playing field and create a more fair and balanced union?

If so, well, let’s just say we believe you to be naive. Actually, if that’s the case, we don’t believe you’re just naive. We believe you’re a hypocrite. You espouse the importance of equality in admissions, in “basic equity” as you put it in your diatribe in one of our nation’s most respected newspapers. And yet you work at The Derryfield School, an independent college preparatory school in New Hampshire. Need we say more? Yes, we will. You’re also the director of college counseling at US Performance Academy, an online high school for competitive athletes: bobsledders, synchronized swimmers, skiers, sailors, and more. Because most students in inner-city Detroit have the opportunity to competitive bobsled after school. Riiight. Mr. Barnard, don’t write so heavy-handedly about the importance of equality in college admissions while you’re helping the world’s bobsledders get into college. Because, unlike in the movies, most bobsledders are white and privileged.

“Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time! Cool Runnings!”


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