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Barrier to Entry No More: UC Ends Use of SAT, ACT in Admissions, Scholarships

In a historic settlement, the UC Regents agreed they would eliminate the SAT and the ACT from admissions and scholarship decisions through 2025.



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You don’t have to ask Stockton teenager Rain Romeo about standardized testing.  We all know tests like the SAT/ACT are discriminatory in nature, failing to reflect a student’s real ability, and advantaging wealthier students who can afford extra tutoring to game the exam. 

 “I’m not just a score,” Romeo, a 17- year old Filipino American student told me this week on the phone. She was one of the students who had been asked to testify to the UC regents about the fairness and efficacy of standardized tests. 

Last Friday, the major barrier to Romeo’s hopes and dreams was removed. In a historic settlement, the UC Regents agreed they would eliminate the SAT and the ACT from admissions and scholarship decisions through 2025.

UC had already figured that standardized tests were unfair last year, but let COVID-19 be the excuse to put a temporary halt on the tests only through 2022. The settlement now bans the test for another three years. 

The suit should allow for a greater diversity of students of all backgrounds, but especially Black, Latinx, and Asian groups from less wealthy communities.

“I’m thrilled and so happy to hear the news,” Romeo told me. The tests had put enormous pressure on her life, creating anxiety and self-doubt. 

“Coming from a low-income household and a community that is constantly overlooked, I have always felt like I wouldn’t attain success,” she said. “I always based my perceptions and my entire life thought process on these scores. I believed if my score wasn’t good enough, then I wasn’t good enough.” 

Romeo immigrated to the U.S. with her family from the Philippines as a child in 2004. She has been active as a youth advocate with the Little Manila Rising group in Stockton. And she feels connected to her community, interested in building it up, not looking forward to leaving it behind.  It’s a kind of ambition and drive that doesn’t show up in a standardized test. 

“There’s more to me than what is seen on that piece of paper, and the number that score represents,” Romeo said.  “I don’t want [admissions officers] to make an assumption or observation of me that they think is true based on a number.”

Romeo said she wanted colleges to see her for who she is and what her true potential represents. In Stockton, Romeo has overcome a lot. She’s a star student (weighted GPA around 4.3) in a neglected, low-income neighborhood, and would be the first in her family to go to college. In school, she studies debate, Honors English, Honors Physics, and is in student government, as well as a community volunteer with Little Manila Rising. 

She also isn’t ambitious for a corporate life that would force her to leave her home. Instead, Romeo is ambitious for her community. Perhaps that is a quality colleges should find worth nurturing, as Romeo prepares to apply to UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Davis, where admissions will consider her uniqueness rather than her relative value to a made-up standard.

That makes the settlement good news for all young people who are overlooked and filtered out by that thing that has long been an admissions officer’s crutch–the SAT. 

Students like Rain now have a chance to stand out and be seen, not by a number, but for who they are. 

Emil Guillermo is a veteran Bay Area journalist and commentator. He vlogs at,   FaceBook

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Juneteenth Jubilee



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Bay Area

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, Hayward

Saturday, June 19, 2021 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. at Hayward City Hall Plaza, 777 B Street, Hayward, Calif.



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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Endorses Mia Bonta

The special primary election is June 29 by mail-in ballot only with the general election set for August 31.




Mia Bonta -- via Twitter

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, endorsed Mia Bonta for East Bay Assembly District 18, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro.

The special election is being held because seat was vacated by her husband, Rob Bonta, who was appointed California Attorney General by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The remainder of Rob Bonta’s assembly term is through 2022.

Lee tweeted “[l]et’s do this @MiaBonta! The Bay Area is lucky to have such a fierce progressive advocate.”

Bonta thanked Lee via Twitter for her support.

Lee also said of Bonta that she “ . . . will bring a progressive, social, economic and racial justice lens to our state legislature.”

“She will stand up for communities that have been marginalized and underrepresented for too long.  Mia is committed to addressing our community’s most pressing issues, such as homelessness, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, helping families and businesses recover from the pandemic, and reopening schools safely.  Mia has a strong record of serving East Bay children and families,” Lee said.

Mia Bonta is currently board president of the Alameda Unified School District.  She is also endorsed by U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland City Council members Sheng Thao, Loren Taylor and Treva Reid of districts 4, 6 and 7 respectively; California State Board of Equalization member Malia Cohen, Nate Miley and Keith Carson of Alameda County Board of Supervisors, District 7 BART Director Lateefah Simon; Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker, Black Women for Political Action (BWOPA) and Equality California among others.

Bonta is running in a field with Mali Vella (who also received Schaaf’s endorsement), Janani Ramachandran, James Aguilar, Eugene Canson, Stephen Slauson, Joel Britton, and Victor Aguilar.

The special primary election is June 29 by mail-in ballot only with the general election set for August 31.

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