Thursday, February 02, 2023

Time for the "College Board" to slink away in disgrace

Popular Info's account of why the College Board caved in to Republican Ron DeSantis' demands that complex content about race and society be excluded from their A.P. African American Studies course needs to go far and wide. 

Turns out this is about the money -- pure corruption in higher ed. 

Following a succinct summary of what DeSantis and other right-wing white supramacists were objecting to, the article explains what gives:

In 2019, the College Board made over $1.1 billion dollars in revenue, according to documents filed with the IRS. Almost half of this revenue came from “AP and Instruction,” and 40% came from “assessments” like SAT exams. 

In 2020, revenue shrunk to $800 million dollars. “AP and Instruction” now constituted the majority of revenue, but “assessments” plummeted by almost half. The reason for this sharp decline is that since the pandemic many universities and colleges have implemented “test-optional” policies. Compared to 2019, when 55% of colleges required test scores, only 4 percent of schools had a testing requirement this past fall. SAT exams are becoming less important. 

As revenue declined, compensation for its top executive increased. [David] Coleman, its CEO, took home more than $2.5 million in compensation in 2020 — over a million more than he had received in 2019. The College Board is technically a non-profit.

These people are just education parasites.

All parts of the higher education-industrial complex are facing a squeeze. The population of college age young people is about to crash. 

In four years, the number of students graduating from high schools across the country will begin a sudden and precipitous decline, due to a rolling demographic aftershock of the Great Recession. Traumatized by uncertainty and unemployment, people decided to stop having kids during that period. But even as we climbed out of the recession, the birth rate kept dropping, and we are now starting to see the consequences on campuses everywhere. Classes will shrink, year after year, for most of the next two decades. People in the higher education industry call it “the enrollment cliff.”

Perhaps the College Board's "assessments" (high stakes tests) once served a purpose. It's no surprise now schools desperate to enroll whoever they can have dropped them. A.P. courses do provide a small enhancement for the subset of students who take them. But wouldn't it be better to promote national educational standards that demand that ALL students have some exposure to Africa African Studies, among the many subjects necessary to contemporary American life? Sure, the same backward looking conservatives would howl -- but they will always howl because their world is passing away.

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