I.F. Stone, the old leftist muckraker and editor of I.F. Stone’s Weekly, used to get a lot of mileage out of just paying attention to what the government said. Government officials did tell the truth, Stone maintained. You just had to pay attention.
Flip the ideological perspective and we can learn something. The liberal establishment actually does tell the truth about what they’re up to. You just have to plow through some awfully boring stuff to find it.
Sometimes it hits you right in the face.
Here’s a mild-mannered chamber of commerce type “We believe” advertisement from the Educational Testing Service, the venerable Princeton, New Jersey-based designer and purveyor of the famous academic tests we all took, the SATs, plus the APs (Advanced Placement), the Graduate Record Exam, and many others, state and national. Written ostensibly in the voice of President and CEO Kurt M. Landgraf, the ad, titled, “Making Diversity a Reality,” begins:
“Like many organizations committed to social justice, ETS faces challenges in creating and sustaining a diverse workforce.”
Wait a minute. “Social justice” is code for “communist” — it means “equal outcomes.” And what does “creating and sustaining a diverse workforce” have to do with administering tests to find out what high schoolers know? Or with ranking those students to find out which ones can do the work required at which colleges?
THE ETS AD BRISTLES WITH buzz words and phrases. “Underrepresented groups.” “Diverse workforce.” “Expand educational opportunity across ethnic lines.” “Recruiting aggressively among ethnically diverse groups.”
For more of this appalling pabulum, see ETS’s web page, under “People, Practices and Standards,” here. ETS, it appears, actually requires its employees to “Tolerate no incidents of discrimination or harassment,” “Embrace diversity of thought,” and “Report cases of discrimination or harassment directly to my Strategic Workforce Solutions consultant.”
The point of the ad? That ETS thinks it has to meet ethnic quotas in hiring in order to make ethnic interest groups feel comfortable with the idea of taking ETS’s tests. Only black test authors can write questions for black test takers. Only “Latino” test writers can pose questions to “Latino” test subjects. And so forth.
Boy, is it hard. Landgraf, or his ghostwriter, wails that “In the 2000-2001 academic year, U.S. universities conferred only about 500 doctorates in educational psychology, evaluation and measurement. Of these, only 18 percent came from underrepresented groups, and included many international scholars who later returned home to take up their profession(s).”
(Maybe there’s hope. Apparently, the increasingly boneheaded “professions” ETS seeks for hiring don’t appeal to much of anybody, underrepresented or not.)
Here’s the kicker: The advertisement, dripping with sanctimony and earnestness, appears on page 7 of the May 23 issue of… National Review. A less appropriate or receptive advertising audience could scarcely be imagined.
THREE THINGS OCCUR TO ME as I read this improbable screed. One, I find my suspicions of higher education increasingly confirmed. Should my boys decide to leave high school and pursue their vocations through something other than a college, it won’t bother me a bit. I will spare no effort to help them find the mentors and tutors and jobs to help them.
Two, if my sons do decide to attend college, I will continue to wisecrack and joke about the process and to point them in a generally southerly direction, to big state schools where the girls are pretty and the weather is warm and you can drive a convertible and play golf. (This after they have earned their own college money via the Navy or the Marine Corps.)
And three, Bob, George, Wlady, get in touch with these people. If ETS is dumb enough to pay National Review for a full-page two-color ad, we ought to be able to get on the gravy train, too.
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