College admissions scandal

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Sonic#
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College admissions scandal

Post by Sonic# » Sat Mar 16, 8:33 2019

So this week 50 people were indicted for using payments and fraud to illegally influence college admissions decisions at prestigious colleges and universities. Some parents paid someone to help their child obtain special accommodations for the SAT/ACT or have an adult take the test for them. Others would bribe university athletics staff to pretend that their child was an athlete. The bribes were hundreds of thousands of dollars.

First, this seems like egregiously bad parenting. Their kids are not being taught any sense of self-worth. They aren't learning the limits of their own ability. Rather, their parents act as if their children are entitled to go to prestigious schools, and in a couple of reported cases the kids have demonstrated that entitlement in spades.

Second, this feels like the illegal version of how some underqualified children of wealthy parents get into schools. Legacy admissions (of children of people who went to the school) and admissions in return for a legal donation to the university are well-known, and have been called "affirmative action for the rich."

Third, it's not like these kids had no option for going to college and doing well! Kids in a high social stratum who go to a less prestigious school still do well. State schools, small liberal arts colleges, community colleges and other places offer good educations, and there are a lot of students who go for 2-4 years to these schools and then transfer to a target school. Of course, doing that requires showing some dedication and hard work at that initial school.

Anyway, the news this week has had me thinking about the many ways that college admissions are an unfair system, and the ways that these kids and parents view college, which seem at odds with either the idea of a well-rounded "liberal arts" education or with professional training. For them, schools are about status, not learning.

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Re: College admissions scandal

Post by octarineoboe » Sun Mar 17, 11:07 2019

I've been fascinated by this story, too. Partly because of the sordid details - it has everything: celebrities behaving badly! Photoshopped water polo photos! Corrupt coaches and admissions officers! YouTube stars losing sponsorships! Test-taking impersonators! Other kids who may have been oblivious! And my favorite/the person I feel most bad for: the one younger sibling for whom the parents DIDN'T bribe anyone (...yet.) Can you imagine being her and having to apply to college now?

So all of that is fun to ogle. But I agree that the more important point is the way it highlights all the existing inequalities in the system. I've been thinking a lot about why we draw the lines we do. We all know that rich kids often get more resources that help them in the admissions process, from the ability to pursue extracurriculars to SAT tutors. That's not criminal, but it is unfair. What do we do about that?

It's also interesting what comes from the parents and what comes from the kids. This seems to be driven by the parents - it means something to THEM to have their kids go to a prestigious school, and it's unclear if it means as much to the students themselves. And it's also fuzzy when we think about "work" and what the kids put into it vs advantages conferred by parents (in general, not necessarily in this case) - I mean, I think about myself. My dedication to the oboe absolutely helped me get into the colleges I got into, I think, and I practiced my butt off and devoted a ton of time to it, but I also couldn't have done that without parents who were able and willing to pay for lessons, reeds, instruments, sheet music, audition fees, etc.

And if we drill down on it, it's not just college. These disparities go all the way down to funding education via property taxes. And probably further than that, even.

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Re: College admissions scandal

Post by Sonic# » Mon Mar 18, 7:12 2019

octarineoboe wrote: So all of that is fun to ogle. But I agree that the more important point is the way it highlights all the existing inequalities in the system. I've been thinking a lot about why we draw the lines we do. We all know that rich kids often get more resources that help them in the admissions process, from the ability to pursue extracurriculars to SAT tutors. That's not criminal, but it is unfair. What do we do about that?
Right? I've been thinking through that one a lot, because on the one hand I'm all for more educational opportunities, more service to the community, and so on. On an individual level, it's good that people get that. What's unfair is how our educational system doesn't grant everyone the ability to do that.

I went to a fairly diverse public school in a relatively well-run school district. We had decent teachers, a few AP courses, a couple of robust service programs. In comparison, there are schools that give everyone multiple opportunities to do major service or academic projects, a full slate of AP/IB/dual-enrollment classes, excellent teachers with robust resources to go beyond state testing standards, and free or reduced in-school test prep. For each wealthy school there's a school across the train tracks that can't offer half of these opportunities, and students at these schools whose parents are hard-pressed to support these opportunities on their own. The opportunity gap is real:
And it's also fuzzy when we think about "work" and what the kids put into it vs advantages conferred by parents (in general, not necessarily in this case) - I mean, I think about myself.
Yeah. My ability to participate in academically challenging programs - math and science competitions, governor's school, and so on - was a huge boost, and a key reason why I didn't have to pay for college. I worked very hard, but it was work my parents and the school at my zip code could pay for me to pursue. So I find myself thinking that I'd respect these parents a lot more if they gave their kids these opportunities, but also that this is a problem that goes beyond what parenting choices individual parents make.

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Re: College admissions scandal

Post by geldofc » Fri Mar 29, 17:05 2019

The two sisters didn't seem to care about going to college. So yeah I agree the parenting was pretty awful. Anyway I still wish they would all disappear and go be mediocre in private but they have a million followers for doing, idk what.
:gf: :devil: :syringe:

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