By Adam Koplik, Editor-in-Chief
The pandemic was long, it was lonely, it was anxiety producing, and for many, it was tragic. Dozens of societal problems were highlighted, but one of the ones that stuck with me was how wrong we’re looking at education.
The College Board was generous enough to offer free AP review videos before last year’s tests (which went horribly, but that’s for another time). The videos were amazing, and, in my experience, helped me study a ton for those tests. Obviously, it was a good action, but it bodes the question: why were these resources just made available? It took a pandemic for the College Board to think, “hey, maybe kids could use some help on these $100 tests”? That’s insane! Why is it that, after doing nothing but pushing overpriced books and tests for years, the College Board does the bare minimum and wants a ribbon? Access to resources that can improve a student’s education – like review videos or even something as simple as giving access to Adobe Creative Cloud – should be easily accessible for all.
Moving on – but not from the College Board – to the SAT. You know, the test that we’ve been told defines us and we need to study for weeks for. Turns out, it doesn’t! Turns out, colleges throughout the nation survived a year of college admissions test-optional! Isn’t it a miracle? Well, maybe less a miracle and more-so a very predictable outcome.
The SAT has always been a flawed test that really only tests how good you are at taking the SAT. It’s been found to be based more on socioeconomic class than anything, and its why colleges had been slowly but surely moving away. While it took a pandemic for them to take the next step, as the test was cancelled for so many, it still shows that colleges never needed the SAT to fairly compare applicants. Any reversal on these policies would show that they think they messed up in their evaluations of the Class of 2021, which, they didn’t. One test doesn’t define a student, and the ending of the SAT may be the best thing to come out of the pandemic.
Another educational takeaway I had was actually pretty simple: sleep. I’m not even going to go into all the studies that show teenagers need sleep but, alas, we do! It’s actually pretty important. During the most stressful year of my life, I actually found myself less stressed over school than ever before. While that may have to do with a touch of senioritis, it more-so involves the fact that I was able to sleep until about 7:55 AM every single day. That’s still pretty early, but the fact that I, in the years of my life that I need sleep more than any other, woke up five days a week at 6 AM is insane to think about. Schools need to do something about the lack of sleep among high schoolers. It’s the most important quality of our mental health, and needs to be addressed.
The pandemic showed that we need to improve in so many ways. From offering more classes online to ensuring high schooler’s mental health is made priority, we have so much room to grow. But I really do believe we can get there. For all the horrors of COVID-19, it may have been the kick that the educational world needed to step into the 21st century.
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