Florida Considers 'Christian Alternative' To Heathen Liberal SATs

Florida Considers 'Christian Alternative' To Heathen Liberal SATs

At this point, it is becoming abundantly clear that Ron DeSantis literally just wants to make it so that Florida students cannot get into school anywhere that isn't in Florida or an explicitly Christian school in another state. He wants to get rid of AP classes and tests, and as part of this ongoing war with the College Board, Republican state officials have been meeting with the founder of a "classical and Christian" education testing company in hopes of finding an alternative to the SATs. Why? Because they think the SATs are just too liberal. Also because DeSantis is at war with the College Board.

In addition to being "classical and Christian," The Classic Learning test also boasts some pretty impressive White Christian Nationalist dog whistles.

Tampa Bay Times:

The Classic Learning Test, founded in 2015, is used primarily by private schools and home-schooling families and is rooted in the classical education model, which focuses on the “centrality of the Western tradition.”

The founder of the company, Jeremy Tate, said the test is meant to be an alternative to the College Board-administered SAT exam, which he says has become “increasingly ideological” in part because it has “censored the entire Christian-Catholic intellectual tradition” and other “thinkers in the history of Western thought.”

I do love how they keep saying "Western" like we don't know what they mean. Africa and South America are just as far west as Europe and North America, and yet one would have to imagine that is not what they mean when they say "Western." And when they say "Classical," they mean the days before people of color, LGBTQ+ people and women were allowed full participation in society and the ability to widely publish books on their own personal experiences.

It's been a while since I've taken the SATs, I will admit ... but it is very unclear where they would imagine the "Christian-Catholic intellectual tradition" would even fit in. It's a test measuring verbal and math skills, there is not a whole lot of room for the holy ghost.

On Thursday, Florida Department of Education Senior Chancellor Henry Mack wrote on Twitter that “Not only do we need to build anew by returning to the foundations of our democracy, but CLT also offers the opportunity for all our colleges & universities to rightsize their priorities,” adding "Let’s also think beyond reforming our college-ready aptitude assessments. Let’s move to expand our credit by exam list, approving new assessments—for all disciplines—grounded in the classic curriculum."

This is apparently a whole thing now for conservatives.

The option would not be coming out of nowhere. In recent months, national conservative groups have called on governors to make state university admissions and state-funded scholarship programs accept the Classical Learning Test exam to make the schools “more charter and home-school friendly.”

“Many governors champion school choice. Those same governors should champion their state’s colleges and universities including the Classic Learning Test as an equal option to the SAT and ACT,” Kevin Roberts, a Classical Learning Test board member and president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, wrote in a public “memo to governors” in November.

Homeschooled kids and charter school students are free to take the SATs and the ACT. It is absurd for them to have a special test because they need to be shielded from the horror of secular vocabulary and math tests. If they are so delicate, they probably should not be going away to a secular college in the first place, where they would run the risk of reading books by people who are not white Christian men or human beings of differing opinions, religions and beliefs. They should stay on the farm and listen to their old man. Or like, something that isn't a lyric from an Elton John song that just popped in my head.

DeSantis' attacks on education and learning institutions have not been going over well. Parents are furious about the fact that he is considering getting rid of AP courses and students at Florida colleges are planning walkouts over their schools complying with his demand to turn over the medical information of trans students.

Parents are pretty big on making sure their kids get into good schools and those with the means to do so frequently go above and beyond to give them an edge. Hell, Aunt Becky went to prison for it! There are a lot of people who are more than willing to go along with his gross culture war stuff, but probably not at the expense of their kids' futures.

The GOP is betting big on the culture war nonsense being a winner for them in 2024, seeing as how they haven't got anything else to run on. Guess they better hope people don't get sick of this shit.


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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