The admission scandal that littered the news the past month in the US was certainly not new for people especially students and families seeking admission into institutes in less developed and highly ‘corrupt’ countries. Although corruption is present in every country in the world, the presence of the so-called corruption watchdog has put the cases of corruption in developed countries under check unlike in other countries like Russia, Asia and in Africa where corruption is a way or part of the lifestyle of the people.
The scandals in the US certainly pulled the rugs from underneath our feet as we never thought role model and important personalities that preach good morals could be involved in such conspiracy and atrocities in our society. Ok, so we knew it was possible, but chose to think the culprits were the usual suspects; older white conservative families with legacies they wanted to maintain with a firm grip.
Within education admissions ecosystems, from private boarding schools, to universities and let’s not exclude well-resources neighborhood public schools even, secret pay offs, trade offs and name-dropping is as common as drop off car lines and school clan bumper stickers. The issue, the stab in the heart with this college scam was not that liberal Hollywood moms were participants, but how many qualified, but poor kids were denied admission in the same universities and colleges because they couldn’t pay the back door fees.
Corruption in the education sector makes a different impact on the society and in the lives of the children/families that have been denied especially when your race, color, and wealth are factors for admission.
Who suffers the brunt when the rich hack the Education system?
The admission scandal that unfolded in the month of March looks like something out of a movie from 3rd world country, but it also brought to light how low-income students/families of color and certain background are never going to benefit or gain the best from the US education system.
Even more annoying is the fact that admission is now the inheritance and right of the wealthy, well-connected and famous people that can afford to donate to the course the school is pursuing putting the less privilege at a total disadvantage and creating an unleveled playing field for the less-privileged kids and families getting into best schools.
Some educators have come forth to denounce the act, and situations surrounding the admission scandal sighting greed and selfish personal interests as reasons why so many schools indulge in these practices that cause disparity in society.
Who is involved?
The higher education system was rocked to its foundation by the federal indictment of more than 50 people including school administrator, coaches, registration and exam officials and more than dozens of parents including celebrities for giving bribe and partaking in fraudulent admission of their kids and others into top-notch colleges like Georgetown and Yale among others.
The criminal offenses of different magnitudes range from bribery, payment to write and seat for SAT exams, admission videos falsification, tax invasion, fraud, and falsification of admission document by the parents of these children was to get them admitted into these schools despite not having the required qualifications needed by the school.
Getting admitted into top and renowned college across the country is the dream and ambition of most parents. For the low-income earners, their children study hard and long as education is the Holy Grail of their families’ success and freedom in the future.
However, for the rich and wealthy, it is just another golden trophy of been known as rich and well-connected among their circle of friends even when their kids are not interested in the program.
The Punishment and Reaction
In total, those involved were charged and are allegedly to pay more than 25 million dollars for admission scandals from 2011 to 2018 for forgery, bribery, and falsification of the academic document.
However, some celebrities who are front and center of this scandal were to get jail time of up to 20 years but after an appeal has their judgment turned to 20,000 dollar fine and a year of supervised arrested. It needs to be clearly noted that women of color who have manipulated the system by using a relative’s address to allow their elementary school aged children to gain access to a preferred public school have received sentences up to 12 years in prison. Not only does it pay to buy admission to universities, but it pays to get off federal crimes if you are wealthy and white.
Huffman and Loughlin might have gotten off easy, parents especially mothers and women of low-income families are outraged by how the wealthy families cheated their way to elite universities and how their wealth keeps them from the punishments they deserve by the law.
Some parents and students rejected from these elite schools have filed a federal lawsuit demanding for the money wasted and time in applying to a process that was rigged with corruption and fraud by the wealthy of the society.
We are not saying there aren’t kids from wealthy homes who grind their asses off to get in legally, but it is disheartening to know that the scheme favors children of a particular class, race and financial status instead of talents, skills, and qualifications.
There are large and yet to be discovered talents around the world – whether you believe it or not most are from the minorities of our societies. To this class of people, their talents and skills are a means to get the best education and live a life of freedom or achieve their dreams and change their background. Foreign policy journalist and business expert Elmira Bayrasli documents in her book, “From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places” how our next innovators, change makers and leaders will likely come from marginalized communities. While they may lack the resources, infrastructure, and certainly, the generational wealth and privilege cards, they have a well-developed aptitude for creative thinking and problem-solving, grit, courage and work ethic. You won’t see a first generation undergrad from Laos on Youtube pushing mascara that will take her from party to party and missed morning classes gal-pal hangouts on campus.
The recent admission scandals certainly brought to the public eyes the oppression that the minorities and the poor suffer when it comes to getting admission in the best schools –colleges around the world or in the US. With recent studies indicating most American household are a month’s salary away from losing their home, and the average student loan debt in the six figures, the picture of poverty and educational access is more diversified than ever.
With more immigration and asylum seekers hoping for a better life through education; this scandal has shown that wealth is a prerequisite in getting a position in colleges in the US which might make the poor feel that talents and skills are not important in achieving their dreams. We say, “Forget that!”.
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