Hart: The murky cesspool of college admissions

Hart: The murky cesspool of college admissions

March 22nd, 2019 by Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

U.S. Attorney for District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling announces indictments in a sweeping college admissions bribery scandal, during a news conference, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Boston. Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged along with nearly 50 other people Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and insiders at testing centers to help get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said. "For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected," Lelling said. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

If you were laboring under the illusion that the admissions process at elite colleges is a meritocracy, stop.

The college admissions cheating scandal comes as no surprise for those who have watched the process over the years. Parents want their kids in good schools because that reflects on them, not the kids. It does not matter if you are Jared Kushner's dad getting him into Harvard by funding a building, or Forrest Gump's mom sleeping with the Greenbow, Alabama, Middle School principal to advance her son.

Ron Hart

Ron Hart

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

And then one day, for no particular reason at all, the college admissions process was revealed to the nation for what it really is.

The whole nation thinks now that the kids of a "Desperate Housewives" star and the "Full House" mom, among others, took their children's spots at Yale. "If not for that and a 925 SAT and a 2.2 on what seems to be a 6-point high school grading scale now, our kids would have those spots!" Shaking their fists, the people say, "Damn you, wife of that guy in 'Fargo'!"

But here's the good news from a Tennessee redneck who is so white I make Tucker Carlson look like a runaway slave. It does not matter what school you attend. It matters who you are and what value you bring to the free market that will determine your life. I went mostly to a very public school, the University of Memphis, and then had a cup of coffee at one of the schools named in the scandal, Georgetown. All I can tell you is that 99 percent of an Ivy-like school education is getting in. They graduate almost everyone for little effort, where state universities do not. And you wonder how I got into Georgetown? By Photoshopping my face as one of a pairs ice dancing team with an African-American partner. Yes, I was way ahead of my time.

Entitled grade inflation and social justice curricula have devalued a top-25 college degree enough; this admissions scandal should erase all doubt.

Instead of covering it for what it is (liberal Hollywood elites and law firm heads cheating the system), leftist media have turned microphones on minority students asking them if they feel the system is rigged. Of course, they say yes and go on to say the struggle is real. But keep in mind: This same system gives African-American applicants a 230-point "bonus" on their SAT scores. Michael Jordan's and Magic Johnson's sons could get into Harvard with a 230-point discount on their SAT versus a white kid growing up in a trailer park in Appalachia.

As Asians are finding out with their lawsuit against Harvard, the system has long been rigged. This scandal just revealed it.

It comes down to supply and demand: the scarcity of Ivy League spots. When I was in college, everybody wanted Coors beer since it was scarce and only available west of the Mississippi River. Now no one wants the watered-down beer, which is the official beer of child custody hearings.

I told my kids, no matter what the essay question is on their SAT, be sure to work Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Barack Obama and white privilege into their answer. And say something about getting water to kids in Africa. Say you teach scrapbooking techniques to the homeless, and see if the judges get the irony. Consider it creative writing, and be sure to mention the time you were nice to that loner at camp. They eat that up. It worked; my kids went to Vanderbilt, UGA and Columbia.

We have all learned something here. For example, I did not know USC was hard to get into. I thought it was a party school, where instead of tuition they just had a cover charge each quarter and stamped the back of your hand to show you were in. But I do like Erin Foster (famous kid who has done well sans college). The 36-year-old comedy writer took to Instagram to post her dad's funny note. "Thank God you didn't want to go to college," her father, a 70-year-old Grammy Award-winning music producer, wrote. "I'd be in jail right now!!"

The good news is that Congress is on this. Finding out massive bribes were paid to people other than themselves, congressmen are angry.

Contact Ron Hart, a libertarian op-ed humorist and author, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.

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