When I was a high schooler, there were two advantages that have apparently been removed from todays students: 1) The old SAT was designed to measure aptitude, not achievement or learned skills. 2) There was a real "merit scholarship" program, generous enough to cover more than the tuition to Harvard for a relatively poor boy like me. Thus the SAT allowed pupils who had received poor educations, such as those available essentially everywhere in the American south, to demonstrate college potential. Then there was money to provide the opportunity to get a good education. The Economist this week argues that those things essentially changed America from a country for the privileged, into a meritocracy. (It seems George Bush got into Yale before the SAT revolution took place there.) The result was that Americans began to succeed and obtain jobs and money and status, based more on brains than connections, a boon for the entire country, in increased wealth and opportunity. This powerful engine of change was the brainchild of James Conant of Harvard, an educational visionary of the early 20th century. That has all been reversed. The SAT has been revised twice in the last decade, once to inflate the scoring, and now to remove the one skill I have found most crucial in my entire career as a research mathematician, namely analogy. [Here is an example of reasoning by analogy: if a line segment has 2 endpoints, a square has 4 sides, and a cube has 6 faces, how many "faces" does a "4 dimensional cube" have? Didn't know that before did you? Neither did I.] The merit sholarship stipend was long ago reduced to a token amount that would not come close to paying Harvard tuition for even one semester. I suggest you young people start asking why this is? Although many people argued that the old SAT discriminated against poor and ethnic minorities, actuaoly the opposite seems true. A test designed to measure intelligence rather than essay writing skills, helps the less well educated but bright poor child. Anyone could afford an SAT practice book for under 20 dollars retail, and free in libraries. Now an education in good essay writing is not so cheap. The real travesty, according to the Economist, and I agree, was not that old SAT scores failed to identify the best candidates for college, but that colleges deviated from using them in admitting students for political or monetary reasons. Since this revolution backwards in time affects you, I recommend you take an interest in it.