The College Board has released the SAT scores for the class of 2012. In a world of rapid change, it is reassuring to know that some things remain the same. The percentage of test takers who achieved the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark was 43%, the same as last year. In American education any year that things are not getting worse is a good year. The Benchmark is the score (1550 out of a possible 2400) the College Board reckons will give students a 65% chance of getting a B minus or higher grade at a four-year college. If you are really good at math, you may have figured out that 57% of the test takers did not achieve this score. 

ACT scores were released last month and told the same story. About 60% of test takers did not meet the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in at least two of four areas. The two exams were taken by about the same number, 1.67 (ACT) vs. 1.66 million (SAT). Rounding off furiously, we can say that the scores predict that almost 2 million of these kids are going to waste their time in college because of poor preparation, mediocre work habits and, in some cases, because they are just not smart enough. The ones who can reasonably hope for a B minus or better may still waste their time because of political correctness, low academic standards and remorseless brainwashing, not to mention sex, drugs and rock and roll. 

What to do? According to Jim Montoya, the College Board’s senior vice president, “One of the calls to action is to ensure that greater numbers of students across all ethnic groups complete a core curriculum, which we know leads to stronger SAT scores.” Now I am not one of those monomaniacs who have a single remedy for every ill. No, we need two things: the tariff and a Latin requirement. SAT scores hit their all-time high in 1963, the year after 1962, when public school Latin enrollments reached their zenith, 728,637. After studying Latin for four to six years, students will go to college with a large vocabulary and enough grammar to master critical thinking (logic) and persuasive writing (rhetoric). And the tariff? The tariff will protect American jobs for the sixty per cent of students who should not be going to college in the first place.