College Scandal and the Elites

The college scandal revealed a few things about American society. They were neither surprising or particularly new. But the scandal is a classic example of where we are. The people involved are very wealthy, but their children did not have the academics to get into the colleges they wanted to attend. And in some cases school was not a priority for these young people, except for one thing: They were to attend there for the prestige, not the education.

These young people were not ready for the demands of those colleges. They did not have the academics necessary. We are facing a society where whites are striving to maintain their place in society, Never mind that our society is becoming a majority-minority country. CNN writes:

”From an equity perspective, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. “This system is, in many respects, an aristocracy posing as a meritocracy.”
As the nation inexorably grows more racially diverse, the higher education system has become a chokepoint to narrowing the gaps in economic opportunity between whites — particularly those from upper-income families — and minorities.

This description is very accurate. The country lives a lie when it comes to merit-based society and education. This lie is that hard work will pay in the end, and allow people from far lower economic and social strata to make it within the American dream.

Meritocracy is the lie we tell each other. If you work hard, you will succeed. Look, that other person did it, why can’t you? Pull yourself by your bootstraps, never mind that the minefields for a child of a disadvantaged family are far deeper and harder to overcome.

The justice system is clear on this. We are often told that college is the way to a better life, however, schools in lower income areas, racially segregated areas, do not get the funding as the schools of the very wealthy. And a child that has the grades may not make it because the parents of legacy students buy their children their way in, and even lie in applications.

Likely these very well connected parents will face very little in the form of consequences. In the meantime, we have stories like this:

An Ohio mother’s attempt to provide her daughters with a better education has landed her behind bars.
Kelley Williams-Bolar was convicted of lying about her residency to get her daughters into a better school district.
”It’s overwhelming. I’m exhausted,” she said. “I did this for them, so there it is. I did this for them.”

She faced a conviction and a short time in jail as a deterrent because lord knows this is fraud, There is an extremely good chance that the very well-heeled, mostly white, parents of the university scandal will not face as much. Here is a reality from a former admissions officer:

Schools and their admissions officials are not the target of the conspiracy investigation embroiling testing proctors, SAT/ACT tutors, college athletic coaches and parents, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Admissions officers and deans of admissions appeared to be the victims in this case. That is hard to believe. After years of working in an Ivy League admissions office where I handled the recruited athletes’ applications and being a dean of admissions at a small liberal arts college, I know better.
No matter how much influence the indicted individuals had, we are overlooking the fact that none of them signed off on admissions decisions. Every single student who was admitted under false pretenses received their offer from the admissions office signed by the dean or another high-ranking member of the staff.

This is why this is a window into a world where meritocracy is more of a rumor than reality. Studying hard will not get you where you want to go. Having money and connections will, and this is the message. It is a troubling one and goes against the concepts of democracy and the American dream.

It is one more reason for the revolt against the elites we are living through. Donald Trump is not an error by the voters. He is a symptom of a much larger problem. And until we see some equity in the system, this revolt against the elites will continue. Oh, never mind that Trump is part of that elite and seemingly above the law. He rails against those injustices, as long as they do not affect him.

2020 will be interesting, for that reason and many others. The Justice Department should prosecute these people to the full extent of the law. They won’t, because they have good lawyers.

And if you want to know some of those involved, the New York Intelligencer provides a good profile. Read to your heart’s content.

Suffice it to say, the LA Times is reporting, to no-ones surprise, that plea deals are currently being dangled. I am betting they will take them. Why? There is no reason to try to dissuade them from these activities. Ultimately, our justice system will not do much to these people, Even significant fines will not serve as such.

The woman who went to jail for sending her children to a better school district is hardly alone. There are others. This is how we can see how broken our educational and criminal systems are. Nor is this accidental. Why your zip code is actually destiny. It should not. In a society that values merit, it would not.