On June 14, the University of Chicago announced that it would no longer require SAT or ACT scores for applicants starting in 2023, joining a small but growing set of test-optional colleges and universities. If this trend continues across a wide array of institutions, it could not only reduce high school students’ stress during the application process, but also contribute to more diverse and equitable college admissions.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Lake Lessons 3 (Final)
Four days aboard an 800-foot Great Lakes freighter transporting 30K tons of limestone and iron ore was an unexpectedly rich experience. As with the lessons shared last week, this final batch carries relevancies to other kinds of journeys, including those Foresight undertakes on its projects.
Aided by Harvard scientists, a carbon sequestration company has announced that it has developed a technology to capture atmospheric carbon and convert it into climate-neutral fuel. Only time will reveal the ultimate impact of this breakthrough, and carbon capture technology in general: while it could circumvent many of the economic disruptions of transitioning from fossil fuels, it may also lessen the urgency of shifting to a truly carbon-free economy.
Lake Lessons 2
I’m still processing everything I observed last week from my four days traveling from Detroit to Duluth on the Honorable James L. Oberstar, an 800-foot lake freighter. Many of the lessons have reverberations for the kind of big issues Foresight strives to address through its work. Here are the first few.
On the evening of May 30, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), first proposed in 1921, that would constitutionally outlaw discrimination on the basis of sex. The last major push to pass the ERA occurred in the 1970s, and while nationwide ratification may be mostly symbolic, it would exemplify how accumulated, dedicated efforts often drive large-scale change.
I was reluctant to disembark. Fulfilling a childhood ambition, I spent 4 days last week traveling from Detroit to Duluth aboard an 800 foot lake boat. Viewing issues from one, often narrow, perspective, is one of the pitfalls of working on sustainability challenges. New approaches are often adamantly embraced without having considered the full spectrum of ramifications. The wisdom and experience of those caught in the potential transition can be overlooked. Aboard the ship, I was afforded an intimate, upstream perspective of the "extractive economy” upon which so much of our affluence fundamentally rests.
Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Planning Council released Our Equitable Future, a set of recommendations for the Chicago region to address its systemic racial and socioeconomic inequities. As Foresight has seen firsthand in its work with Elevated Chicago, a partnership focused on equitable transit-oriented development, overcoming these historically-entrenched issues requires both structural and cultural shifts across local institutions.
I suspect collusion. The paper napkins I’ve been receiving at several lunch establishments I frequent have gotten noticeably thinner. I blame my dry cleaners. They have directly benefitted from this backward trend, as my business with them has increased. With this, my pants are wearing out more quickly. So maybe those manufacturers are in this as well?
I’ve written previously about the recent privatization of space exploration, and companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin continue to capture headlines. However, publicly-funded, research-driven space exploration is still going strong, as NASA plans for the May 5 launch of InSight, a Mars mission that will measure the planet’s tectonic activity for the first time.
Growth Etudes 4: Hiring Uncertainty
I fought for my first job. I'd never before been in that kind of competitive position, wanting to do everything I could and knowing there was little I could do. Hiring is an imperfect process of risk reduction. Given the often intense, multidimensional nature of Foresight’s projects, and our relatively small team, identifying the right person is essential. As much as I might interview a candidate, check their references, and get to know them, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s nearly impossible to predetermine a good fit.