AACE and ACRI Jointly Condemn the Radical Decision by University of California Board of Regents to Suspend Standardized Testing in Undergraduate Admissions

By | May 26, 2020

For Immediate Release

May 26, 2020 

Livingston, New JerseyThe Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) and American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) jointly issue the following statement to protest UC’s precipitous decision to drop standardized tests in admissions as a politicized and misguided assault on meritocracy and equal education rights.

On May 21, 2020, University of California (UC) Board of Regents unanimously voted in favor of UC President’s plan to phase out SAT and ACT as admissions requirements. As a result, all nine UC campuses will go test-optional during 2021 and 2022 academic years and then adopt no-test admissions during 2023 and 2024. Starting from 2025, UC may implement a new test for admissions or go test-blind if such a test is not available. The board’s decision marks a historic turning point in our nation’s higher education system with disastrous consequences on fairness and quality.

Unfortunately, UC’s decision was not based on data and facts, nor did it offer a solution to help its intended beneficiaries better access higher education. Instead, it is a farce in which the extreme left abused our democratic process to highjack our higher education for political power. According to UC’s own Academic Senate and its Standardized Testing Task Force (STTF), SAT/ACT is only one of its fourteen admissions criteria and the best predictor of college readiness and completion. Like any other admissions requirements, standard tests can present challenges for students from poor families. However, this negative correlation has been compensated by UC’s extensive use of socioeconomic affirmation in admissions. According to STTF’s report, factors prior to college application account for 75% of low enrollment of underrepresented minorities. Among the remaining 25% UC can influence, standard testing is NOT a major factor! This finding convincingly refutes the main excuse progressives invoke to eliminate standard tests.

Based on its 1-year comprehensive study, STTF published a compelling report detailing recommendations against test-optional and UC president’s proposal. It was approved by the UC Assembly of the Academic Senate with a 51-0 vote. Sadly, the Board of Regents irresponsibly made an uninformed decision against its own faculty recommendations. When UC’s educational quality and California’s economic future are at stake, the Regents chose to surrender to progressive influences and political pressure from specialized interest groups, as crystalized in the December 2019 lawsuit and UC bureaucrats’ demagogic pleading.

As the world’s most comprehensive public university system and a longstanding flagship in American higher education, UC is setting a dangerous trend of abandoning the real purpose of education to embrace political correctness. UC’s backsliding from educational excellency to identity politics is truly alarming at a time when our nation faces increasing challenges in student performance thorough K-12 and a growing shortage in STEM talents. In other words, removing SAT and ACT as a requirement for admissions undermines American meritocracy, hinders our nation’s technological progress, and jeopardizes our national security.

This plan will only masquerade preexisting achievement gaps without meaningfully advancing diversity and inequity. Underperformance and disparities in K-12 schooling have systematic root causes, such as divergent academic rigor and funding gaps. The contextual use of standardized testing helps mitigate educational disparities. On the contrary, replacing standardized testing with more subjective school-level factors will expose the admissions system to abuse and corruption, as revealed in the college admissions scandal. Ultimately, opaque admissions criteria will further burden the education system.

Removing SAT and ACT in admissions particularly harms Asian-American students, many of whom come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and aspire to pursue their American dreams through education and hard-work. Being labelled as “overrepresented”, Asian Americans will be further victimized by racial balancing and stereotypes under the new admissions paradigm.

Mr. Ward Connerly, president of ACRI commented: “The University of California is one of the world’s preeminent institutions of higher education. This is an honor that has been earned based on UC’s decades of academic excellence. In order for this distinction to continue, we believe that it is crucial for quality to remain as the most significant factor in the list of factors that are a part of UC’s priorities. It is for this reason that we express our very strong concern about the decision of UC to discontinue using the standardized test as part of its admission process. The three most significant factors upon which any university must be judged are 1) academic quality; 2) accessibility; and 3) affordability. Quality should never be sacrificed in the interest of accessibility or affordability. Means may be discovered to confront those two factors, but once lost, quality may be impossible to restore or recover. It is our firm desire that the motivation for suspending standardized testing as part of the UC admissions process is not to increase skin color diversity. We will closely monitor implementation of this decision.”

Mr. Yukong Zhao, president of AACE said: “When our communities face record-high hate crimes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, University of California has endorsed a measure to exacerbate treatment of Asian Americans in California. UC now pivots toward politics and away from upholding meritocracy, a key element of the American Dream. It will not only jeopardize UC’s educational excellence, but also weaken our nation’s global competitiveness.  The Asian-American community must unite to defend our children’s equal education rights and America’s future from the assault of a detrimental progressive agenda!”

Dr. Wenyuan Wu
, telephone: (786) 393-8028, email: admin@asianamericanforeducation.org.

Ms. Swann Lee, telephone: (617) 651-1328, email: swanleeca@gmail.com.

About AACE:  www.asianamericanforeducation.org

Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) is a non-political, nonprofit, grassroots national organization, the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal educational rights. On May 15, 2015, the founders of AACE united 64 Asian-American organizations and jointly filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request that they conduct investigations into Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. As the largest joint action taken by Asian-American communities over the last few decades, this complaint is now being investigated by the Justice Department. Over the years, we have advanced the cause of equal education rights for the Asian-American community.

About ACRI: https://www.acri.org/

Founded in 1997, American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to educate the American public about racial and gender preferences and the importance of achieving equal opportunity for everyone. ACRI focuses on educating the American public, press and elected officials about the problems with racial and gender preferences in federal, state and local government programs. Over the years, ACRI and its President Mr. Ward Connerly have led various civil rights campaigns to promote and defend legislative bans on government preferences in places such as California, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Idaho. ACRI also seeks to energize a cultural change to embrace civil rights as fundamentally individual rights to equal treatment.