MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Let's be clear. There's a legitimate debate to be had about whether standardized test scores should be the begin-all and end-all of a student's qualification for college enrollment.
The arguments are valid on both sides, and frankly, I don't have a problem with that debate occurring in the Tennessee legislature. Although, our lawmakers usually vote first and ask questions later.
But Sen. Brian Kelsey was simply pandering to far-right conservative voters with a headline-grabbing comment he made recently about how public universities use test scores to determine admission. Kelsey is sponsoring a bill that would require the state's four-year schools to use ACT and SAT scores as key factors in determining admission.
The Germantown Republican said dropping the standardized test as a requirement for admission amounts to practicing Ivy League wokeism. Kelsey's bill is in response to the University of Tennessee dropping test scores as part of student applications during the COVID pandemic. But other schools in Tennessee and elsewhere no longer use the scores as the primary barometer for admission.
Kelsey thinks that gives students of color an unfair advantage. Hence his use of the word 'wokeism'.
Without question, a below-average ACT or SAT score doesn't mean a student is unfit for college. I am an example of that and Kelsey is just playing election year red meat politics with an insensitive and frankly ignorant statement.