Friday, July 22, 2011

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin - Review

We don’t seem able to escape talking about testing these days. How much is too much? Does it help or hinder? Now imagine what life would be like if we bought into an experiment that scored kids all the time. Not just your grades, but how you act. Ubiquitous cameras would watch how you walk, how you react, who you hang out with, have lunch with, flirt with. Everything. And all this would be scored. Then think about what it would mean if that score was your destiny – whether you could go to college, who you should befriend, what job you could have. So if you are 90 or above you get a college scholarship and the chance of any job you want. But if your grades slip, watch out. And if your friends’ scores slip, dump them fast or your score will slip too. But of course this only matters if you need a scholarship to go to college.

Imani LeMonde is a 92 when we meet her. She’s smart and determined and has never questioned the score and the system – it works for her. But her best friend begins to date an unscored and thus her score plummets. And because Imani doesn’t distance herself soon enough, her score plummets too. She tries to work out a way to bring her score back up and in doing so, is forced to look at the score a lot more closely. Who really benefits from this system? Does it really bring about an upward mobility for the poor? Has it really leveled the playing field? Is it really OK to place your score and your future above all else – friendship, family, love?

This book hit home for me. Scary because it’s just not too far from reality. You should read it too. Then look in the mirror.

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