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tv   ABC7 News Getting Answers  ABC  January 25, 2022 3:00pm-3:30pm PST

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kristen: today, the our partner that details the huge sum of money the san francisco mayor is allegedly making in the ongoing effort to redevelop hunters point. also, will barry bonds finally make it into the baseball hall name? the answer coming in minutes after an agonizing 10 years of waiting -- into the baseball hall of fame? first, big changes coming to the
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s.a.t.'s the standardized test high school students have been taking for decades as part of the college admissions process. the college board announced the test will be all digital come 2024. this comes at a challenging time for the s.a.t.'s with more colleges dropping it, students unable to take the test, and questions about equity and fairness. joining us to discuss the changes is the executive director and founder of the compass education group that is a leading test prep company in the bay area. thank you so much for being here. bruce: thank you. good to be here. thanks for having me. kristen: starting in 2024, no more paper and number two pencils. explain to us how the digital s.a.t. will work exactly. bruce: this has been a long time coming, but it appears to be the clean break the college board wants to make. this will affect the current ninth graders for the first time
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in 11th grade, i suppose. it is kind of an update or modernization or renovation, if you will, of a 20th century test that can take advantage of technology to address some of the common complaints. kristen: like what? bruce: most students when asked about the sat will say it is too long. the test will be cut down to about two hours from the current three-hour duration. administrators also complain about disrupting the school day and the logistics around managing a large-scale paper and pencil tests. this will give schools more flexibility in terms of when they schedule the sat and how they administer it. kristen: just to be clear, just
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because it is digital does not mean students can take it at home on their own computer, right? bruce: that's right. it will still be a very structured, proctored, supervised event. they are given, say, a one-month window, and they can administer the test to students any time in that month rather than the six or seven dates throughout the year currently given. the testing experience itself will be done in a supervised or met. kristen: got it. how do they make the test shorter but still provide enough feedback and information about what the student really knows and does not know? bruce: right. there's really kind of a third group affected by the change, and that is the makers of the test. one of the interesting details is this will take on a dynamic format, meeting it is no longer
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a static test that obviously paper and pencil mandates. with technology, they can essentially create a more adaptive test that create -- that gets smarter about the test-taker, so it understands earlier on in the test how the test-taker is performing and can be more with the questions it presents to the student. the goal of creating any good test is to make it as short as you possibly can while still measuring the thing that you are trying to measure. technology and adaptability really allows test makers to get for targeted with the questions being asked and effectively not waste questions that are just not useful in differentiation. kristen: got it. and that will be factored into the score eventually, right? how difficult the questions you enter -- we probably do not have time to get into that, but people can read about it on your blog, which i will get to later. people say these tests are
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unreliable and an inequitable judge of students' abilities, especially hurting underrepresented minorities and low-income students. does the digital test make for a more equitable playing field, do you think? bruce: i think it is going to shift the conversation to different definitions of equity. i don't think this will solve some of the underlying concerns. i think it could provide increased access in some cases, but i think we are going to continue to be contemplating some of these larger issues, and i do not look at today's announcement to be a magic wand to address that. as far as reliability, i actually still think standardized testing of the sat and act have a fairlyairly reliability measure. it is not something that can be taken entirely, but i think you will see this improvement actually make this test even more reliable. kristen: do you mean what it
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tells the college about the student's ability to succeed at that college? as i understand now, it is one piece of the puzzle. no student accepts or rejects a student solely on sat, right? bruce: correct, right. i'm using "reliable" in a fairly narrow context, given that a given score can be treated reliably to mean the same thing as another 650 as another student at another point in time, as far as how much that predicts into the future. there is some research that shows that the sat, when taken with other factors such as transcript, it adds a comprehensive effect to the reliability, but you are still in the business of forecasting unknowns, and all these items taken in isolation do not necessarily say that much. kristen: is improving availability a factor here?
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you talked about increasing access. i have heard from kids who have gone to crazy lengths to be able to sit for a test. i cannot get a slot without driving six hours or flying out of state. is that true? bruce: that has been a pain for sure the last few years. i would say it was worst two years ago. got a little better and we are seeing signs of improvement as we look into spring. i think for any individual student, it does not necessarily feel that way. the college board might feel like they are generally meeting demand, but we have plenty of stories like you have cited of individual students still struggling to find a place to sit. as you say, this change is not going into effect for a couple of years, so it will not address any of those near-term news, but i think it signals that the college board is sort of hearing some of these concerns and trying to address them. kristen: what about the security
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of the test? you mentioned students will still have to go to schools are test sites and it will still be proper heard, but in terms of cheating and things like that, that was certainly an issue. do you think it is safer -- or more secure, i should say, digitally? bruce: test makers will tell you the use of a dynamic format makes the test even more secure because it introduces additional security structures. you can actively -- test makers have more variables in play with the digital test, so they can effectively create a unique test for each student. that's never going to eradicate all bad actors, and, hopefully, a combination of technological improvements, oversight, and just the consequences students face -- you cite the varsity blues scandal. that was a scandal and a major illegal scheme. these high-stakes tests have
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never been easy for cheaters. i think technology in some ways will give the college board even more assurance that these tests will be hard to crack. kristen: i'm sure they will figure out away so you cannot have multiple browsers open -- bruce: that's actually exactly right. students will have to download a lockdown app that essentially introduces them to the exam but cut them off from anything else on our device. kristen: i wonder if it is all too little too late. many schools are now test optional, right? you have some like the uc system that will not even consider them. will this convince colleges to come back or at least keep using their products? bruce: that is always the ultimate question. you have to ask the question early any time there is a change to college admission. will colleges give the support to this change? early signs -- we are very early
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into this announcement, but today, there were generally positive reviews from college admission representatives cited in other media outlets saying they kind of embrace this. i would also say we tend to talk about colleges in this monolithic way as though they all act in one single way when in reality, these policies are so nuanced answer circumstantial, so i tried to encourage families to, you know, not look at just the generalizations across the country but to focus on how testing can either serve their needs and their specific testing college goals or decide that testing just is not part of the equation for them. option knowledge he just gives more of that choice, but it also introduces some of that paranoia and uncertainty about what is the right thing to do. kristen: i should mention, the digital concept is not totally new. they have been working on it for a while. the act has been going that way for a while. of course, the gre for graduate
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student has been going that way. a lot more to come in the process. thanks for sharing your expertise, and folks who want to learn more, details when you go to the compass education group's blog, and we do have more on our website. bruce: appreciate it. have a good night.
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kristen: part of buildingldinglg better bay area is highlighting anyone that is working toward the same mission we have here at abc 7. the brand-new "san francisco standard" has a goal to serve everyone with a stake in the future of san francisco. joining us today is reporter matt smith, to tell us a new
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story highlighting mayor willie brown's role in a development project. thank you for joining us. what does your report contend? matt: we found some information about a very large payment that was made to a firm that consists of him and two other people. the payment, as you say, related to hunters point, the big plot of land to the southeast of the city, and our story was about how this company that he is part of receive more than $1 million seemingly for purposes of helping put a conclusion to a radioactive waste cleanup that has been going on for quite a long time with the idea that eventually they will be able to build thousands of houses there. kristen: right. a lot of political leaders in retirement become lobbyists, and
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as such, they receive money for making connections to expedite project, for example. -- expedite projects, for f example. where is there something allegedly improper? matt: we were not able to find lobbying by him, his associates, nor the company, so there's the issue of seems to be lobbying because the company paid for facilitating communications with government agencies, and an expert told us that that is lobbying. that is the definition of it. so there's that, and then there's the simple fact of the willie brown hunters point case is a little special because it was central to the putting together of a deal with the navy, which owns the land because it used to be a shipyard, and san francisco. fast forward he is involved in
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the financing of that project he helped get off the ground, and now, he is apparently involved -- for lobbying, it would be a very large amount of money in trying to help get a conclusion to this radioactive waste cleanup. kristen: what did records show in terms of how much money we are talking about? matt: during 2020, $1.3 million paid to this firm, shipyard advisors, which consisted of willie brown, his attorney and business partner, and also a former executive of the company that has been doing the development there, so it was $1.3 million in 2020, and payments continued according to these records in the amount of $100,000 a month to just willie brown and another partner after 2020, so we do not know exactlyy how much, but certainly quite a bit more than $1 million.
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kristen: got it. you are saying it looks like lobbying, but there's nothing paperwork required when you are engaged in lobbying. have you reach out to get a response to that? matt: certainly. william brown's attorney, who is one of the partners on this, said in a note that did not really respond to our questions, but said something along the lines of people associated with the hunters point project obey all laws. we did not get answers to the questions we had about this particular company. kristen: also, if you could talk about brokering investment visas from foreign nationals. that was another component you say former mayor brown engaged in. talk about what that is and what the law permits. matt: sure. i did not find any violation of
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laws with respect to what you just described, and the united states for a while has had what people call an investment subprogram. invest $500,000 in an improved project, and you are in a process to get a certain type of visa. willie brown a number of years ago and still to this day became a principal of firms that were set up to broker these investments, and the investments were used to help pay for these housing project at hunters point. the issue there has been when wn they have put roadshows on in china to settle these investments, willie brown has been described as the chairman of this company. it has been sort of characterized as a willie brown
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project, which, again, our story's theme was it was key to getting this up and running and now has been key to making money off of it. kristen: thank you so very much for sharing your story with us. i should mention that we, too, also reached out to armor mayor brown for comment on this story and have not heard back yet, either. if and when we do, we will certainly let you know his response. abc 7 is excited to continue our partnership with the brand-new "san francisco standard." we have links to the "san francisco standard's" other original reporting on our website, we just learned giants great very bonds did not get elected into the baseball hall of fame in his final
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kristen: barry bonds has been shut out of the hall of name. the result of the years vote by the writers was revealed a short time ago. the armor giants slugger did not get the support he needed. he got 66%. this was the last time bonds' name appeared on the ballot. joining us to talk about it is sports director larry beil. surprised or not surprised? larry: i'm not surprised at all. i thought it was going to be really close. i actually thought it would be a little closer. you need 75% to get into the baseball hall of fame, and it turned out this year, only one player did, and that was david ortiz, who got just over he had been trending upward in recent years, but the baseball writers association of america a few years ago changed the window. it used to be you had 15 years from retirement to get voted in.
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they shrunk that down to 10, and they did it deliberately to try to from the window down in which guys like bonds and clemens and schilling and others would have the opportunity to get in. they did not want the window open another five years. you can see the trendline. eventually, bonds would have gotten in, as well as probably some of the others, and a lot of the writers are just adamantly against that. in addition to a lot of other old-time players who also feel the game was tainted by those who use steroids. kristen: right. let's talk about that. there seems to be this struggle between morality and history and those who argue on the history side say when you look at his achievements, no question he should be in, and that the performance-enhancing drugs was more indicative of the era as opposed to him. what do you think about that? larry: well, baseball is unique among many sports in that it looks at its records, its records, it's numbers. they are cherished in a way that you just do not see in, let's
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say, the nfl or nba -- nba. the baseball hall of fame is looked at not as a museum, which is what it is, but many consider it to be almost this cathedral paying homage to baseball and the history, but if you look at the numbers, first of all, there's a lot of guys in the baseball hall of fame that you would not necessarily want as your next-door neighbor. not all of them were great humanitarians and great guys, going back to ty cobb and all that, but if you look at a numbers analysis, bonds, 73 homers one season, 760 two lifetime, seven m.v.p. awards, or teen all-star appearances, 12 silver slugger awards, the most feared batter in his era. to me, when you look at these numbers, and everybody has their own criteria for what the injuries to the baseball hall of fame should be -- what the entries to the baseball hall of fame should be -- to me, could c
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you have the era of baseball in which he played without the name barry bonds? the same goes for roger evans. can you tell the story of baseball -- can you tell the story of the game without his name? there's no question. in the case of roger clemens, we have the famous "oh, i must have misremembered testimony" when they went before congress and rafael palmeiro. you had all these guys. mark mcgwire, "i'd rather not talk about the past." everybody has kind of a quote for a moment symbolic of their involvement in this mess. in bonds' case, the line was "i never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. nobody believed that. in addition, you have to look at the human side. i think last year, there were 400 members that voted.
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bonds was not mr. congeniality. we all dealt with him. he was a huge pain in the but most of the time, so there is a human element to this were people say, "this guy treated me like a jerk for a number of years. i'm not going to vote for him," and the steroid hooked gives you an easy out. i would say put all these guys in and just put the asterisk there and on their plaque in cooperstown. say, "here are the numbers." you get the whole story, but he was involved in the steroid era and indicate that he did he was but not knowingly -- just put it all out there and let the people who come through the hall of fame decide. but also, there's one other avenue. there is something called the game era ballot, a 16-person committee that will consider players from 1988 forward.
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16 people will look at his candidacy. he should be in based on baseball merits. even if you just take the steroid numbers out, he would still be a hall of famer, but here we are. kristen: do you think barry bonds cares anymore? larry: i think he cares, but it's not like and death. he's got a pretty good
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kristen: thank you so much for joining us today on this interactive show "getting answers." we talked about the new digital sat's coming your
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way. we will be here at 3:00 on air and on livestream answering your questions. world news tonight is coming up tonight, several developing stories as we come on the air. in new york, an appeals court judge and what he has just decided on masks. and dr. fauci tonight is asked, will we face another tough variant like omicron? that late word coming in tonight from the appeals court here in new york. keeping the state's indoor mask mandate for schools and businesses at least for now. after another judge in new york had halted the masks. so, masks back for now. the hearing now coming in days. tonight, pfizer launching human trials on its now omicron specific booster. and tonight, dr. anthony fauci on the question we all have -- what is the likelihood we'll see another variant that challenges us like omicron? tonight, ukraine and r


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