Enough About the Cram, Already

Michael Walfish writes in with a rejoinder to my previous pieces on the test-prep industries:

I think what you’re missing (and why the colleges would never implement this proposal) is that the test prep provides a convenient fiction — an excuse if you like — for getting wealthy kids into the given college, which is in the college’s best interest, or so they think. (wealthy families give more money, wealthy kids don’t ask for as much financial aid, etc., etc.)

I think that’s right. The American system of college financing depends on a certain measure of collective dishonesty. The bias of standardized tests towards the richer is something admissions officers may bewail, but it also provides much of the necessary obfuscation. To fix that bias would make the deeper tensions dangerously obvious.