Why This College Admissions Scandal Should Really Make High Schools Mad

“The FBI and federal prosecutors have uncovered a massive bribery scheme to get students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes and help them cheat on college entrance exams to gain admission.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston says the scheme, which it dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues,” includes 50 people, including college coaches, actresses and CEOs who collectively paid $25 million to get their children into schools such as Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Texas, Wake Forest and Yale.”

The above starts a report from Mark Schlabach on ESPN.com about a college admissions scam that affected some elite universities. It should infuriate any person who believes in the integrity of really earning grades and working hard to obtain admittance to a post-secondary institution.


But for this teacher and parent of a high school junior who actually took the ACT today as well as the SAT last Saturday and a an alumnus of one of the schools implicated today, it is a slap in the face of most every hard-working individual whom I come across on a daily basis on the campus where I work.

It is harder for me to tell a student whose family barely makes it from month to month that her hard work in the classroom will pay dividends in getting into a good college.

It is harder for me to tell students that education can be a great equalizer.

It is harder to not feel angry that a few people make our jobs harder because what is more important to them is the ends and not the means.

Every high school teacher of every student who “benefited” from this scam was just told that their professional assessment of those students’ performance, work ethic, and achievement was not worth listening to.

Every high school teacher who now will have to proctor more exams because adults and trusted figures cheated for money will be working a little harder from now on.

Every coach in high school ranks who obeys the rules and wants each student-athlete  to take pride in earning their place was belittled.

Every guidance counselor who practices a high level of integrity in helping with the admissions process for their students and tries to be fair and equitable to all students was insulted.

The amount of money that was spent by some of these parents to get their children into the “right” school practiced a bought privilege that ultimately hurts all involved. It hurts those who did not get admission because a space was bought. It hurts the very students who received special treatment because they will learn the rudest of lessons.

And it hurts that people would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to buy admission into an “elite” school when that money could have been for more legit purposes that would actually help their kids.