This article appeared in the March 12, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A message from the admissions scandal

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/File
Students walk on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The school was among the elite institutions named in an alleged admissions scandal that led to indictments March 12 of the family members of some applicants.

I dropped Grace off early Saturday for a rite of passage: the SAT. I wondered about the security: ID cards had to have exactly the same name as the test registration; mobile phones were collected.

I wonder no more. Today, federal prosecutors in Boston charged dozens of people with a scheme to allow parents to buy their children’s way into elite colleges, including Yale and Stanford.

How did the parents do it? By having others take the SAT and ACT and, sometimes, creating fake athletic profiles, according to prosecutors. The indictment charges a college counseling and preparation firm, exam and college administrators, coaches, and parents, including two actresses, with fraud.

I should feel outraged, but it’s worse. I am not surprised. We have so many examples of wealthy people tilting the system to get ahead. Has America lost its moral compass?

Many Twitter users share my sadness.

“Glad this has been exposed,” writes Rhonda. “My kid had to take the act 7 times – SEVEN TIMES – to get the best scholarship. And he did…. All on his own.”

“Thinking about all the black, brown, & low-income students who arrive at college & who are made to feel as if 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,” writes Clint Smith, a Harvard Ph.D. candidate.

“Among the heartbreaking criminal news of the #FBI college cheating case, is this nugget…. The kids don’t know their SAT/ACT scores were fake and think they ‘just improved’ and wanted to take them again,” writes marianmerritt.

So a hat tip to Grace and aspiring collegians who work hard and achieve the old-fashioned way. Honest accomplishments are a guiding star – for you and our nation – even amid storms. 

‏Before our stories of the day, here’s a bonus read about today’s Monitor Breakfast with U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who spoke about Russian meddling in the 2020 elections. “I think we are enormously vulnerable in 2020,” he said.

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This article appeared in the March 12, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 03/12 edition