David Wippman.

In an op-ed appearing in The Hill, President David Wippman and Cornell professor Glenn Altschuler discussed Oklahoma’s law targeting “critical race theory” and how it forbids teaching students about historic events including the Tulsa Massacre, one of the worst instances of racially motivated violence in U.S. history. “Oklahoma’s 2021 legislation prevents educators from fully analyzing what virtually all U.S. historians (not just adherents of critical race theory) agree is voluminous and irrefutable evidence that racism is not only the product of individual prejudice, but has been embedded in our nation’s legal, social, economic and political practices,” the authors wrote.

They concluded their piece with these observations: “… the state law, aimed at critical race theory, which does not say what critics say it says (and, in any event, is not taught in Oklahoma schools), now prevents educators from teaching American history as it actually happened.” “Oklahoma is turning a blind eye on its own history,” appeared on July 16.

A second piece by Wippman and Altschuler appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the same day was titled “Does grading make the grade? Considering the history of academic assessments, and how to improve them.” They wrote, “Grades, however, are a relatively recent phenomenon. In the eighteenth century, most Americans received little or no formal schooling. Learning took place principally at home, work or church. Assessments of those who did attend school came largely in oral reports from teachers.”

In their review of “Off the Mark: How Grades, Ratings, and Rankings Undermine Learning (but Don’t Have To),” the writers described the book as offering “a detailed and thoughtful critique of contemporary ‘assessment technologies’ — grades, tests, and transcripts — and some suggestions for reform.” 

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