Last week’s Editorial on SATs
I found the unsigned editorial on the SATs interesting. Whoever wrote it appears to believe that this discussion has only one side and knows nothing about the history of SATs. Whoever wrote it appears also not to understand the distinction between “disinterested” and “uninterested” – a classic SAT test item.
Does the writer really believe that using grades adjusted to the competitiveness of the high school (of course they would have to be) and that investigating actual knowledge and skill would somehow favor students educated in poverty? Does the writer believe that the advantages in preparation enjoyed by the children of the rich would disappear when it came to entrance essays and the inventory of extra-curricular activities?
The SAT was originally designed to level the playing field so that talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds could demonstrate their potential on a test that everyone took. Before that, you got into good schools by having attended good schools – and that was that. All this doesn’t make the SAT perfect, but whoever writes your editorials needs to think a bit about why what is in place is. “Disinterested” means, by the way, having no bias.
Dr. Stephen C. Zelnick
President, Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC)
President, Faculty Senate of Temple University
Editor, Temple University Faculty Herald
Editor, MZM Publications
Student speaks for TUGSA
As a political science graduate student, I never seemed to feel a sense of camaraderie with my fellow graduate students from other departments. As far as I was concerned, Gladfelter Hall and Paley Library were the most important university buildings on campus, and who could blame me? After all, under what circumstances would chemistry graduate students find themselves in conversation with poli sci graduate students? It rarely happens unless, of course, we happen to frequent the same food vendor. So can you imagine what it must be like to peer into each other’s world?
As a recently recruited TUGSA (Temple University Graduate Students’ Association) organizer, I had the unique opportunity to see how the other side lives. Equipped with several pages of spreadsheets outlining vital graduate student info and a map, I began to navigate my way through campus between the tiny, secluded graduate student ‘offices’ nestled in some of the darkest hallways of campus.
Initially, it all seemed so strange and foreign to me. After all, I was assimilated into a Gladfelter-centric world, and what could I possibly have in common with other graduate students? After knocking on a door that I initially thought was a closet, a bleary-eyed graduate student in a wrinkled shirt and khakis opened the door.
I quickly surveyed the small, windowless room crowded with three desks cluttered with empty coffee-cups. Another graduate student sat at his desk hunched over a stack of books, a bottle of spring water sat at his side.
As I introduced myself, I could see a sense of empathy and appreciation in my fellow graduate student’s eyes as I explained the purpose of TUGSA and our efforts to unionize. Yes, he supported TUGSA, and yes, he would come out to vote in the election. Then momentarily averting eye contact with me, he apologetically explained that he simply did not have the time to volunteer. I told him that I understood. He looked up at me, and we instantly sensed that there was something in common between us.
As graduate students, we may not be studying the same subject matter, but in many cases we teach the same undergraduates. We may not read the same journals or books, but chances are we are diligent and committed students who work very hard.
We may not have the same family situation, but more likely than not we live paycheck to paycheck. We may not hold the same office hours or perform similar duties, but it would not be uncommon for us to work 50-60 hours a week.
We may have different goals and dreams, but at the end of graduation, many of us will start re-paying our student loan debts at about the same time. We may be in various states of general health, but we would all appreciate and feel more at ease with a more affordable and comprehensive health plan. As I thanked my fellow graduate student for his support, I could not help but feel good about what I was doing. Graduate students at Temple University have a lot in common, but up to that point, I had only noticed the differences. TUGSA is changing all of this by helping graduate students look out for their common interests.
Jonathan C. Rothermel