FIRESTARTER HOTSHEET: ACADEMIC RACKETTERING

My parents were college graduates whose parents barely had any education. The unfolding American college cheating scandal is not surprising. It isn’t. The fact that people of wealth and influence used that same wealth and influence for self-interest isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the levels this same wealth and privileges garnered!

I mean, people were paying anywhere from $25,000 to $6.5 million to get their children into Ivy League schools. Think about this! There is even reporting that says anyone from testing proctors to athletic coaches were paid! People were buying athletic scholarships! There were even parents that had their children diagnosed with certain learning disabilities to get their children more time to test!

I am a proud product of a public school education. My mother and father made sure I could read at 4. They drummed into me and my siblings the value of education, and stressed the importance of going to college. But not just going, but excelling! Never once, not ever, did I someone do my work for me! Every A (and every occasional F) I earned.

As a parent of a child with a learning disability, I am incensed! I, and my husband, have had to to contend with school districts for her education since she started school. I have been to more meetings, assessments and have answered more questions about my child’s intelligence than I will admit or reveal here. I know there are parents in my similar situation whom share that frustration. The fight to make sure your child will not be devoured by a system constructed to empower and equip.

The irony is, that in recent news, there are Black parents that have been arrested and jailed for using another address to attend another school in a better district. My sister and I did this from the time we were in Kindergarten until my ninth grade year. As a parent, you use all resources available to you. All. Resources.

But why is it okay to jail Black parents for the same thing is collegiate bribery paid to do? Why is it okay to pay for something you want those without said resources to earn through merit?

I really want to ask was all this worth it!

I really want to know why it is this was thought to be okay!

I really want to know is anyone going to be held accountable!

If you have to cheat to get in, I’m of the mind you have to cheat stay in. These degrees that are cuffed through nefarious means, are just glorified receipts. That’s all! Everything that I have achieved through my educational career i earned. Every exam. Application fee. Late night cram session. All me. I didn’t have the luxury of having a family that had such a lackadaisical attitude about money that they could buy a grade! They had the expectation that my intelligence and work ethic would keep me in whatever institution I got into.

Education is supposed to the thing that is the great equalizer. It is supposed to be a tool to equip and inspire. I’m not shocked this happened, and won’t be shocked when it happens again (because it will). What I want is this chance the kid in the burbs has to be the same chance in the kid in the hood has. The further irony? It will take money and influence to do that. It will take resources, and that same energy to make the scale equal!

The fact is if you have to pay what is the equivalent of a fully furnished house to get your already privileged child in school, hang it up! It’s only going to cost more money from there!

And the fact Hollywood actresses are caught up in this? There is no price to ignorance. But when ignorance is powered by money, they call it influence. When that skewed influence becomes a collective? They call that power. The odds are never in our favor. Not as long as money weighs more than ability or merit.

[image from theithacan.com, wsj.com]

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