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The College Board attempts to tackle inequality in admissions; the Philippines and Canada are in a spat over trash.

Can an “adversity score” tackle inequality in college admissions?

Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images
  • Students applying to college will now receive an “adversity score” from the College Board to measure their social and economic background. [WSJ / Douglas Belkin]
  • The College Board, a nonprofit that oversees the SATs, will calculate a score out of 100 using 15 factors, including neighborhood crime rates and family education levels. The idea is that the higher the number, the more disadvantages the student experienced. [CBS News / Brian Pascus]
  • The score is part of a larger rating system, the “environmental context dashboard.” Students won’t see their score, only colleges. [Washington Post / Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga]
  • The “adversity score” tackles the question of fairness in the college application process — a debate that reignited after a federal investigation revealed a nationwide scheme to get the children of wealthy parents into elite schools via bribery and other methods. [NYT / Anemona Hartocollis]
  • The adversity score does not address race, which is notable since colleges’ affirmative action policies have recently been challenged in court. Still, college admissions experts say it will inevitably lead to increased racial diversity on campus because of the correlation between ethnic background and average household income, which is reflected in test scores. [BuzzFeed News / Ellie Hall]
  • An evaluation of a student’s background has never been done in such a systematic way, and experts are hoping this will finally make the admissions process more holistic. [Atlantic / Natalie Escobar]

The Philippines wants Canada to take back its trash

  • Canada and the Philippines are in a diplomatic spat after Canada failed to collect trash it sent to Manila six years ago. [Reuters]
  • The dispute dates back to 2013, when the Canadian business Chronic Inc. sent more than 100 shipping containers worth of plastic to be recycled in the Philippines. Further inspection, however, revealed that the containers were mostly filled with household waste — a claim that Chronic’s owner denied in 2014. [CNN / Paula Newton and Sandi Sidhu]
  • Canada has tried to address the issue by tightening its laws so that global shipments of hazardous waste are more regulated. However, it’s yet to take back the trash — part of which has been disposed of in landfills and part stored at the Manila port — and failed to meet a May 15 deadline to collect the waste. [BBC]
  • The Philippines has taken a strong stance in the conflict by recalling its envoys in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not apologize for missing the deadline but said he hopes to work closely with the Philippines to solve the problem. [Globe and Mail / Steven Chase and Jeff Lewis]
  • Waste isn’t just a problem for the Philippines. Ever since China, the world’s largest importer of waste, announced it would no longer accept trash, garbage has been piling up in Southeast Asia. [NYT / Jason Gutierrez]
  • The Philippines situation mirrors a larger global trend: Small nations are pushing back against being the dumping ground for wealthier countries. [Washington Post / Amanda Coletta]


  • Taiwan made history today by voting to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s the first place in Asia to do so. [BBC]
  • This chef has a new approach to eliminating environmentally destructive invasive species: eat them. [Vice / Meredith Heil]
  • Are you an expert at crafting the perfect Instagram feed? The queen may want to hire you as her social media manager. [CNN / Amy Woodyatt]
  • Google is tackling the global language barrier by translating your speech into a different language — and retaining your voice in the translated audio. [Futurism / Kristin Houser]
  • From sparkly vampire to brooding superhero: Robert Pattinson is reportedly in talks to play Batman in an upcoming film. [Variety / Justin Kroll]


“This is about finding young people who do a great deal with what they’ve been given. It helps colleges see students who may not have scored as high, but when you look at the environment that they have emerged from, it is amazing.” [David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board, on the new “adversity score”]

Watch this: What we get wrong about affirmative action

The latest allegation that Harvard discriminates against Asians could kill affirmative action altogether. [YouTube / Alvin Chang and Ranjani Chakraborty]

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