Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Operation Varsity Blues

  1. #1

    Default Operation Varsity Blues

    Dumb name, pretty huge deal:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/u...g-scandal.html

    Federal prosecutors charged dozens of people on Tuesday in a major college admission scandal that involved wealthy parents, including Hollywood celebrities and prominent business leaders, paying bribes to get their children into elite American universities.

    Thirty-three parents were charged in the case and prosecutors said there could be additional indictments to come. Also implicated were top college coaches, who were accused of accepting millions of dollars to help admit students to Wake Forest, Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California and other schools, regardless of their academic or sports ability, officials said.

    ...

    The case unveiled Tuesday was stunning in its breadth and audacity. It was the Justice Department’s largest ever college admissions prosecution, a sprawling investigation that involved 200 agents nationwide and resulted in charges against 50 people in six states.

    ...

    In many of the cases, prosecutors said, the students were often not aware that their parents were doctoring their test scores and lying to get them into school.
    Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_c...ribery_scandal

    It's not surprising. Not everyone has enough generational wealth to buy their kids an Ivy League education the old-fashioned way.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #2
    My take exactly.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  3. #3
    I don't subscribe to the idea that this is just buying admission by another means. College admissions in the US has enormous flaws, ironically often made worse by efforts to increase perceived fairness. This is flat-out bribery of individuals, absent any sort of institutional prerogative or priority.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    I don't subscribe to the idea that this is just buying admission by another means.
    Well of course it isn't. They're committing fraud against the universities, the schools aren't getting their cut. The cut that they'd use to help out other more deserving students who might not be able to come to their wonderful institution without it.

    I will acknowledge this isn't the same thing as the usual dance. That's not illegal, among other aspects, even if an argument could be made that it should be. There was actual fraud perpetrated here and the universities were among the victims. But let's not give any of the notions implied in your following statement any credence

    This is flat-out bribery of individuals, absent any sort of institutional prerogative or priority.
    The usual song and dance IS bribery, the fact that the bribed is an "institution" and not a specific person is meaningless, and there is no defensible institutional prerogative or priority which makes it ok or mitigable.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    College admissions in the US has enormous flaws, ironically often made worse by efforts to increase perceived fairness.
    Affirmative action & diversity policies don't actually constitute a major problem. Even if they did, they'd pale in significance compared to eg. legacy admissions and people whose parents bought their kids an admission outright.

    I don't subscribe to the idea that this is just buying admission by another means. [...] This is flat-out bribery of individuals, absent any sort of institutional prerogative or priority.
    What these parents and others did was corrupt and fraudulent and against the law. The regular version is just bribery that operates within the confines of the law, but it is also unjust, and also beyond the means of ordinary citizens.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  6. #6
    I wasn't specifically talking about affirmative action, but I'll take the bait from both of you and argue that — in a system where there are no firm standards — lowering them for an extreme amount of money isn't necessarily the worst thing. Especially if that money is put to productive use, infrastructure, student financial aide, etc. I have two friends who were academically gifted and were only able to attend their institutions because they got a full scholarship from a merit pool funded by the richies.

    I'd rather have a more clear-cut system, but the cynicism about how it's all just different forms of bribery doesn't sit well with me. One of the sad parts of our educational system is people with great academic potential can't afford to pay for the best educations.

    I wish universities would follow the lead of Purdue University and radically tackle affordability. Short of that, letting in one person whose winkwink donation can pay for 10 students isn't massively amoral to me. No more than having such a squishy system in the first place (any particular group).

  7. #7
    A better solution is to just base it off of test scores. While fraud will still exist (see this story) it will not play favorites based on race, gender or who your parents were.

  8. #8
    You realize that the gender discrimination is overwhelmingly in favor of men, right (who, on average, do far worse in high school)?
    Hope is the denial of reality

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    A better solution is to just base it off of test scores. While fraud will still exist (see this story) it will not play favorites based on race, gender or who your parents were.
    Did you even read the story?

    Wealthy parents paid to have their kids' test scores artificially inflated. Which is supremely ironic, since their children already had the privilege of the best public schools (since they live in high property tax districts), PLUS the option of private schools. PLUS paid tutors.

  10. #10
    While this story made me angry, because it's *another* example of institutional failure (and stokes mistrust), I'm not surprised to learn that our educational system has severe flaws, or that wealthy/powerful people are exploiting it, at the expense of everyone else.

    In the mix is how we've conflated athletics with academics; good intentions with bad effect. If the only way a poor, inner city kid can get into college is with a sports scholarship, something is wrong. If the colleges and universities are recruiting gifted athletes that read on an 8th grade level, something is wrong. If wealthy people are faking athletic talents to get accepted, the whole thing is FUBAR.

    There is so much wrong with the US educational system, it's hard to know where the fixing begins. But I'm gonna go on a limb and say we should stop giving athletic scholarships. That means we should actually fund *academics* in public schools, starting with pre-K. Affordable child care, nutritional programs, and parental leave are part of that.

    I also think we should expand the K-12 "free public education" to pre-K-14. The particulars can be flushed out, but it basically means a tuition-free Associates Degree by today's standards.

    If we took a holistic approach to education, it wouldn't matter which state, municipality, or neighborhood a child lived in, their education wouldn't be decided by family class or money. We're a long way from that, but it's not an outrageous goal. And it just might eliminate the crap we have now.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    I wasn't specifically talking about affirmative action, but I'll take the bait from both of you and argue that — in a system where there are no firm standards — lowering them for an extreme amount of money isn't necessarily the worst thing. Especially if that money is put to productive use, infrastructure, student financial aide, etc. I have two friends who were academically gifted and were only able to attend their institutions because they got a full scholarship from a merit pool funded by the richies.
    But NOT from the wink/nudge donations made on behalf of less competitive sons and daughters, I'll wager. I'd have less problem with the bakheesh if it actually went towards mitigating affordability problems for other students. Instead these sorts of donations tend to be earmarked to specific projects (part of what makes it legal and not criminal corruption) which the universities are fundraising for at the time. Sometimes that's a scholarship fund sure (but no guarantee about it being a means-tested one). Often it isn't.
    Last edited by LittleFuzzy; 03-14-2019 at 07:04 AM.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    One of the sad parts of our educational system is people with great academic potential can't afford to pay for the best educations.
    Bingo. And that's to the detriment of society at large; we all suffer from the current system's flaws.

  13. #13
    This coming to light really shows the bullshit lewk, and now dread, has to hide behind to continue to bitch about affirmative action, while ignoring it's the rich folk who actually have their thumb on the scale.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    This coming to light really shows the bullshit lewk, and now dread, has to hide behind to continue to bitch about affirmative action, while ignoring it's the rich folk who actually have their thumb on the scale.
    You say that as though you believe that this is somehow revelatory. I have not heard Lewk or Dread deny that the wealthy have a huge advantage, (even when everything is done above board) when it comes to college admissions. Why isn't it possible to be upset about both?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    This coming to light really shows the bullshit lewk, and now dread, has to hide behind to continue to bitch about affirmative action, while ignoring it's the rich folk who actually have their thumb on the scale.
    Foot, not thumb.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    This coming to light really shows the bullshit lewk, and now dread, has to hide behind to continue to bitch about affirmative action, while ignoring it's the rich folk who actually have their thumb on the scale.
    I just want the racism against Asians and Whites to stop.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewkowski View Post
    I just want the racism against Asians and Whites to stop.
    That attitude is part of the problem. If you only see discrimination when it affects groups that historically enjoyed privilege, then it's practically impossible to discuss how our power structures (that were built on sex, race, or class biases) can be improved.

    Regarding education: do you think it's a right or a privilege?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •