By Molly Borgese
Contrary to popular belief, College Board is not merely an “evil empire” set out to distress high school students, but a much more beneficial tool than most of us can imagine.
Although many students cringe at the sound of its famous name, not many of us are truly aware of its mission or the exceptional collection of professional educators it possesses.
As a group of over 6,000 educational institutions nationwide, College Board serves to promote the accessibility of higher education, most notably through the SATs and Advanced Placement tests given each year to high school students.
Recently appointed chair of the prestigious Board of Trustees is the University’s own Maghan Keita, professor of history and director of the Institute for Global Interdisciplinary Studies for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Keita stands out among the rest with his dedicated work in education on a global scale, emphasizing diversity and equality in learning.
As the author of numerous books, Keita specializes in the histories of the African, African-American and European peoples, along with development studies.
Keita has been working with College Board for the past 43 years. Beginning in his 20s as a consultant, Keita rose up through the ranks. Over the years, he has held high positions on important committees, specifically the chair of the unit that oversees the seven significant advisery committees of College Board, as well as the chair of the academic advisery council, which guarantees the intellectual integrity of College Board products.
More recently, Keita held a position on the Board of Trustees as the vice chair before being elected as the chair.
It is important to note that becoming the chair of the Board of Trustees is not a small feat. Surpassing the nominating committee and gaining the approval vote of the entire constituency of College Board, which is comprised of more than 6,000 institutions, Keita proves to be a significant leader in the educational field nationwide.
In contrast to the many common misconceptions of College Board, Keita stressed the importance of College Board’s role in higher level education: to act as a “gateway” and not “gatekeeper.”
The organization is not a mere generator of a test score, but an agency that helps to design cutting-edge curricula in America.
“Its mission is simple: to create an educational field of equity, access and excellence,” Keita said.
All people should enjoy the basic human right to learning, which is the equal access to unbiased education in preparation for college and for life. Whether a student is in kindergarten or the 12th grade, the education one receives should be excellent.
Oftentimes, the issues surrounding America’s educational system are not treated with the urgency they deserve.
One of the missions of College Board is to reform the content of classrooms, to create more rigors for students.
In the mind of Keita, along with those of the Board of Trustees, it is imperative to engage students into higher-level thinking and to demand our nation’s policy makers into labeling the educational system as a growing problem both nationally and globally.
As chair of the board, Keita serves as an ambassador to various national and international educational groups.
Working alongside the president and chief executive officer of College Board, Keita hopes to continue his mission to “re-engage college faculty and bring the focus back to learning.”
Students should be given the best possible education this nation can produce and College Board provides the tools necessary to evolve the system.
Always evolving, education, along with standardized tests and curricula, also move and adapt with the times.
Keita explained upcoming changes as a “generational project,” where, in the future, “students will be evaluated based on a more holistic approach.”
In this way, the educational system will also be critiqued based on the level of instruction students were given throughout their careers in education. As a result, the problems surrounding education in America will be exposed and hopefully properly dealt with.
However, like most problems we face as a nation, the solution continually boils down to the logistics of time, effort and, most importantly, money.
Even though education is often placed on the back burner of societal issues, Keita raised an important question, “How much are Americans willing to invest in high quality education?”