Unlike Will, College Board

offers possible SAT answer

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

George Will’s recent op-ed in the RTD, “The College Board tries to solve a social problem that it’s unsuited to solve,” hems and haws all over the College Board’s development of an “environmental context” metric to be appended to each SAT-taker’s score, ultimately concluding that the College Board should know its place and stick to reporting only a raw test score. Referencing Abraham Maslow’s law of the instrument, Will likens the College Board’s efforts to provide a measure of test-takers’ educational contexts and upbringings to hammering a problem that is not a nail. He never provides a better alternative.

Rather, the College Board’s new metric is an olive branch measure that is the first step toward mitigating the damage that the SAT does to low-income students, or those coming from underprivileged areas. Past research has demonstrated significant associations between a family’s income, the quality and safety of their neighborhood, and their race with a student’s SAT score. For the College Board to create, and continue to administer, a test that largely transmits only an indicator of a student’s upbringing, and to profit immensely from said test’s importance in college admissions, is to miss the mark in quantifying “aptitude,” the quality that the SAT purportedly seeks to measure. Therefore, until the test is designed to be both income- and race-blind, including a metric of a student’s environmental context paints a more complete picture of a student’s aptitude. Will wants the College Board to stay on the sidelines, but the addition of this metric signifies the company’s efforts to be an active participant in the game of equalizing college admissions.

Joseph Boyle.


Not all natural disasters

linked to global warming

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The “Today In History” feature of the RTD is one of my favorites. Imagine my surprise to see that in 1972 “heavy rains triggered record flooding in the Black Hills of South Dakota; the resulting disaster left at least 238 people dead and $164 million in damage.” Wasn’t this back in the time frame when the experts were predicting an imminent new ice age? Stop blaming every tornado and flood and snowstorm on man-made global warming, and maybe you will be taken a little more seriously in these important discussions about our future energy needs.

Tim Brandon.


Prayers comfort mourners,

might inspire legislators

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I disagree with Gov. Ralph Northam’s comment “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers,” concerning the mass killing of 12 persons in Virginia Beach. I am not privileged to know what faith Mr. Northam practices and in context understand fully what he meant by his comment. But, as a Christian, I do believe in prayer, and Scripture tells us what to do in II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Yes, laws might help, but I say stay in prayer for what’s going on in our country. For laws that might be drawn to counteract such situations, pray that they’ll work.

Gladys Ford.


Cost of tariffs

vs. cost of migrant care

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

If the American taxpayer thinks that tariffs against Mexico to discourage illegal migrants will cost him money, I wonder how much he thinks illegal migrants are costing him?

H.V. Traywick Jr.


Times and advice change

when it comes to medicine

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Sir William Osler (1849-1919), a noted physician, teacher and historian, is called “The Father of Modern Medicine.” Osler was one of the “founding four” medical faculty members at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In light of current controversies regarding health care and societal drug use, I share several favorite quotes by this famous doctor:

“A desire to take medicine is, perhaps, the great feature which distinguishes man from other animals.”

“One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.”

“The person who takes medicine must recover twice, once from the disease and once from the medicine.”

“Gentlemen, I have a confession to make. Half of what we have taught you is in error, and furthermore we cannot tell you which half it is.”

“The philosophies of one age have become the absurdities of the next, and the foolishness of yesterday has become the wisdom of tomorrow.”

Practitioners in the medical professions have been fortunate to have Dr. Osler as a mentor and role model. Society has benefited greatly from his teachings and commonsense approach to medical care.

Al Schalow.


E-scooters too easy

to access by novice riders

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I am a retired physician and share the concern expressed by correspondent Judith J. Bentley in Tuesday’s Times-Dispatch about the dangers of rental scooters. Individuals renting these might have no prior experience with scooters, and this would put them at increased risk for injury. While no one can prevent a citizen from riding on a scooter if he or she so chooses, I oppose making their use easier by making them available for rent by potentially inexperienced users.

Everett Barnes.

Glen Allen.

Inslee’s fracking ban

will cost consumers more

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

It’s disappointing that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee changed his stance on natural gas as soon as he started running for president. His previous position — that natural gas will help the U.S. transition away from dirtier fuels and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions — was the right one for the consumers in his state, and in the country. With Inslee’s fracking ban, his constituents now will pay more for energy.

I urge lawmakers in our state not take the same turn Inslee did. We need more access to wind and solar power (and companies like Dominion Energy are increasing renewable-based capacity), but those resources are not plentiful enough today to power our homes reliably. Increased regulation of natural gas and moratoriums on exploration like we see in Washington state will raise prices.

I also hope Inslee’s shift isn’t indicative of what is to come in the presidential race. I hope someone emerges on the Democratic side who will present a practical solution that’s good for the environment and our pocketbooks.

Brian Crawford.


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