With that in mind, I want to use this space this week to highlight some organizations that are working to create greater access and equity in higher education, an important piece in dismantling the racist systems that lead to deaths like George Floyd’s, Breonna Taylor’s, Ahmaud Arbery’s, and many others. As the Minneapolis-based organization MPD150 writes: “To really ‘fight crime,’ we don’t need more cops; we need more jobs, more educational opportunities, more arts programs, more community centers, more mental health resources, and more of a say in how our own communities function.”
ACCEPT: Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today
ACCEPT’s mission is to “empowe[r] college admissions professionals who seek to center anti-racism, equity and justice in our work and communities.” They want to “lead the college admissions profession in creating an equitable, just, and anti-racist path to post-secondary education” by centering “the voices of communities marginalized in secondary and post-secondary education” and “as educational ‘gatekeepers,’ remov[e] barriers to post-secondary education.” ACCEPT advocates on behalf of students through the Direct Support Initiative, reaching out to colleges and universities whose problematic policies have harmed students, particularly BIPOC students, to hold these schools accountable. They have also been instrumental in pushing universities to adopt more equitable practices in the face of the disruption caused by coronavirus, namely extended decision deadlines for high school seniors and test-optional policies for Class of 2021 applicants. You can learn more and get involved here.
The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest)
Founded in 1985, FairTest has spent the last 35 years “promoting fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial evaluations of students, teachers and schools [and] work[ing] to end the misuses and flaws of testing practices that impede those goals.” My experience with FairTest has primarily been through their advocacy for test-optional admissions policies at four-year universities. It is broadly acknowledged that the SAT and ACT are substantially biased against Black and Brown students and has been since its inception. As the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review notes, “Carl Brigham, the inventor of the original SAT, was a eugenicist and wrote that the test would help prove the superiority of the white race.” Even Brigham eventually “acknowledge[ed] that scores had little to do with natural intelligence and more to do with ‘a composite including schooling, family background, familiarity with English and everything else, relevant and irrelevant.’” This continues to be a problem almost 100 years later and presents a clear barrier to higher education for many BIPOC students.