The elite college admissions scandal exposes the inequities in our supposed ‘meritocracy.’

The FBI has uncovered the biggest college admissions cheating scandal in history—and it’s a doozy.

Fifty people, including high-profile celebrities and CEOs, NCAA coaches, and college exam administrators, have been indicted in a multi-million dollar cheating scheme to get wealthy kids admitted into elite colleges. Among those charged in the case are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and coaches at Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC.

The parents in the case apparently paid a college admissions consultant named William Singer to help their kids get into certain schools. In their arrangements with Singer, parents, coaches, testers, and others knowingly cheated in order to make that happen. In some cases, stand-ins took students’ SAT or ACT tests for them. In others, coaches were bribed to accept students as athletic recruits in sports they didn’t play—even going so far as to Photoshop students’ heads onto athletes bodies in pictures—in order to be accepted with lower test score and grade requirements.

“We’re talking about deception and fraud,” said Boston U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, “fake test scores, fake credentials, fake photographs, bribed college officials.” Whew.

These crimes are not just wrong. They also highlight the injustices in a system that many believe to be a meritocracy.

“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” Lelling said. He pointed out that even though they had “every legitimate advantage,” they “instead chose to corrupt and illegally manipulate the system for their benefit.”

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It’s all quite gross, from any perspective. But these crimes are a harsh slap in the face for those who are truly at a disadvantage when it comes to college—and who are constantly targeted by those who believe that the policies in place to help them are fundamentally unfair.

Clint Smith, a PhD candidate at Harvard, shared his initial reaction to the scandal hitting the news on Twitter:

“Thinking about all the black, brown, & low-income students who arrive at college & who are made to feel as though they don’t deserve to be there, while so many wealthy students have their parents essentially buy their way into these schools & rarely experience the same skepticism,” he wrote.

“Some ppl don’t fully appreciate the psychological toll it takes on a student to navigate as school environment that both implicitly & explicitly tells you that you only got in because of an undeserving hand-out,” he continued, “meanwhile somebody’s parents donate a building & no one bats an eye.”

“The very idea of our society, higher-ed or otherwise, being a ‘meritocracy’ is something that was made up to justify & reify existing social hierarchies,” he concluded. “It’s not real. What’s real is how wealth & race combine to give ppl things that they tell themselves they inherently deserve.”

A meritocracy is only a real thing if everyone starts from the same starting block at the same time. (And, you know, if people don’t cheat.) But that’s just not reality. As others pointed out, the wealthy always start off ahead, and are able to buy their way even further toward the front.

But the implications of this scandal go so much further than the financial ability to bribe and the unfairness of cheating.

Time editor Anand Giridharadas explained in an epic Twitter thread how the whole system of wealth and charity and tax deductions and college admissions can be manipulated to keep the privileged at an advantage—and how the average taxpayer ultimately ends up paying more for it.

Good gracious. We all knew things like this probably happened behind the scenes, but there’s something jarring about seeing it out in the open.

The good news is that at least these folks got caught. And hopefully their misdeeds will help bring the inequities in college admissions—even without the gross, blatant cheating—into the light of day.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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