Press Releases | College Admissions

ACTA Condemns Department of Education

OCR Guidelines Still Hostile to Objective Standards
January 6, 2000

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni today condemned the Department of Education for its new draft guidelines on how schools and colleges can use standardized tests. The latest draft suggests that using standardized test scores may violate federal civil rights laws.“

This new draft is no better than the last,” said ACTA president Jerry L. Martin. “Once again, the Department of Education has abandoned any notion of standards in favor of social engineering. Ignoring test results will make college admissions more arbitrary and less fair. These guidelines will be a death blow to the idea that individual merit counts.”

The newest draft responds to public outcry earlier this year when the Department’s Office of Civil Rights issued regulations which suggested that use of standardized tests would result in civil rights violations. After a Congressional hearing and pronounced opposition from the education community, the Department of Education backed away from the draft and promised that it would return with a new draft which recognized the legitimate role that standardized tests play in providing an objective measure of achievement.“

The Department of Education has played fast and loose with Congress and the American public,” said Martin. “The language has moderated but the message is the same. They are threatening colleges to drop use of objective test results or risk being dragged into court. OCR is the Dirty Harry of civil rights enforcement,” Martin said.

ACTA is a national organization of alumni and trustees dedicated to academic freedom and excellence.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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