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Affirmative Action, Classicism, Merit & Gaming the System

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posted on May, 22 2019 @ 01:34 PM
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Over the past couple of months there has been a lot of discussion / debate regarding college admissions. At one end of the spectrum we have an Asian group suing Harvard for reverse discrimination while at the other end we have rich celebrities/business people outright falsifying applications and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their kids accepted at prestigious schools.

I wanted to share an article I saw in the Wall Street Journal about how the upper classes game the system to give themselves advantages in college admissions. Basically, the article talks about how there has been a dramatic increase in students being allotted extra time on the SATs/ACTs. Many people don't know that if you are diagnosed with a learning disability, you can get extra time on these tests. In addition, the tests don't designate that extra time was given in the score.

Many Affluent Students Get More Time on SAT

In many upper income communities there is a lot of social pressure to do well in school and gain admissions to the most prestigious schools. As such, there is an entire industry / hustle where Type A parents get their kid's diagnosed with a learning disability so they can have extra time on the tests to improve their scores.

The article looks at data in many of the wealthiest school systems and finds that there is a huge over representation of kids who require extra time on the tests. For example, at some schools, about 30% of the students qualify for the extra time whereas at poor schools it less than 2%! Of course, this makes no sense because these are some of the best school systems in the country.

For example, in the article they feature New Trier High School which is a very highly rated public high school in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The school serves a very wealthy community. It is known for getting their kids into elite schools, high SAT scores, etc. The thing that is funny is that a student did a study and found at least 25% of the students were getting allotted extra time on the SAT / ACT. This makes no sense because these schools are jammed with students taking advanced placement (AP) courses, etc.

In other words, how can you claim to be taking 4 or 5 AP classes, but you need extra time on the SAT? It doesn't make sense.



When Ezra Wallach took the ACT last year at New Trier High School in an affluent Chicago suburb, he noticed a large number of other students taking the test in separate rooms. He did some digging for his school newspaper and learned that a quarter of students were eligible to receive extra time or some other special accommodation. He blames parents, doctors and the school for making this too easy. Mr. Wallach said the school “brags on its website” of having high ACT scores. “It’s to their benefit, so they don’t try to stop it,” he said.


Anyway, any notion of pure merit these days is just pure fantasy....




posted on May, 22 2019 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

A few years ago I went fishing with a friend of mine. When we got to the pond he pulled out a 250 dollar rod, a 300 dollar reel, a tackle box that was loaded with the best baits and lures.

I pulled out a 20 dollar Zebco, a small box containing a few hooks, sinkers, and needle nose pliers.

He laughed a little and asked, "Is that all you got?"

I said, "Fish don't care how much you spent, they just want the bait."


Schools. Whether you learn 2+2 at Yale or 2+2 at a state school, the answer will always be "4".

If people want to spend 10x more for the same education, then they're welcome to it, I suppose. Even if they game it so they're deliberately spending that money.

But the fish won't care how much you spent on school. They'll just want the results.




posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:07 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: Edumakated

A few years ago I went fishing with a friend of mine. When we got to the pond he pulled out a 250 dollar rod, a 300 dollar reel, a tackle box that was loaded with the best baits and lures.

I pulled out a 20 dollar Zebco, a small box containing a few hooks, sinkers, and needle nose pliers.

He laughed a little and asked, "Is that all you got?"

I said, "Fish don't care how much you spent, they just want the bait."


Schools. Whether you learn 2+2 at Yale or 2+2 at a state school, the answer will always be "4".

If people want to spend 10x more for the same education, then they're welcome to it, I suppose. Even if they game it so they're deliberately spending that money.

But the fish won't care how much you spent on school. They'll just want the results.





Yeah, 2+2 = 4 no matter where you go. However, with higher education, that isn't all that people are necessarily paying for. For many in the upper class, certain school degrees are more about membership within certain social circles.

This is why with the admissions cheating scandal you had people willing to pay exponentially more than it actually cost to attend the school to gain admission. One Chinese billionaire paid $6.5 million to get his kid into Stanford. It has nothing to do with the actual education, but the the social bragging rights of having attended certain schools.

Many in the upper class (your run of the mill doctors, lawyers, etc) know that admission to certain schools all but guarantees an upper middle income life through the opportunities available. If you dream of working on Wall Street or some other highly sought after entry level position, State U won't cut it most of the time.

This is why they are so neurotic about college admissions. It is competitive and admission to the right school can be life changing. This is the nuance that is left out of the affirmative action debate. Opposition isn't necessarily about merit, but that some people believe their spot at the table is taken. These same people talk about "merit" but then turn around and game the system as mentioned in the article.

With all that said, there are some differences in quality of schools. Having graduated from an elite school, I can say by in large, most of my classmates were extremely intelligent. It creates a different type of learning environment. Not too mention the resources. It is one thing to say read a text book written by a professor versus being actually taught by the professor that wrote the book.



posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:11 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

Point taken, but school names will only take you so far . There will come a time when you’ll have to “produce” what you are supposed to know. As an employer who hires engineers I see this quite often.



posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:16 PM
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The rich do no wrong. You must work harder you lazy profane! *spits* /s



posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:17 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: Edumakated

Point taken, but school names will only take you so far . There will come a time when you’ll have to “produce” what you are supposed to know. As an employer who hires engineers I see this quite often.


No doubt. However, certain school names open doors. I know by virtue of my MBA, I am part of a network of accomplished alum. My phone call will be answered most likely. It doesn't mean I will get a job or other parts of my experience / skillsets aren't relevant, but the name get's the resume looked at instead of immediately thrown into File 13.

For example, my wife was looking at a job recently. She noticed the executive who the position reported to was an alum of her undergrad. She found the woman on LinkedIn and just reached out to her directly. Immediately got her resume reviewed and interview outside of the normal hiring channels.

That is how it is done....
edit on 22-5-2019 by Edumakated because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:22 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

Buddy, pure merit has always been a fantasy. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and middle income gets the bill. As long as the wealthy got their wealth they're going to find a way to game the system.

Frankly, I've watched this scandal and my reaction has been......"so what"? Who cares? Who doesn't expect the wealthy and holders of positions of power, fame and influence to cheat the system for their kids? How do you think they got what they got in the first place?

The other thing is also pretty simple; they cheat to get their kids into Yale? So what............they can afford Yale. The average Joe Sixpack family can't afford even so much as a diploma mill like Missouri State, much less Yale!

Like I said, I don't see the big deal on this one.



posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:24 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated



That is how it is done....


That's how its always been done. What's new?



posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:32 PM
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originally posted by: TonyS
a reply to: Edumakated

Buddy, pure merit has always been a fantasy. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and middle income gets the bill. As long as the wealthy got their wealth they're going to find a way to game the system.

Frankly, I've watched this scandal and my reaction has been......"so what"? Who cares? Who doesn't expect the wealthy and holders of positions of power, fame and influence to cheat the system for their kids? How do you think they got what they got in the first place?

The other thing is also pretty simple; they cheat to get their kids into Yale? So what............they can afford Yale. The average Joe Sixpack family can't afford even so much as a diploma mill like Missouri State, much less Yale!

Like I said, I don't see the big deal on this one.


I don't disagree and that is kind of my point. There has never been purely merit based admissions and never will as long as there are far more applicants than spots available at high demand schools. People will find a way to game the system to their advantage.

I just get annoyed in Affirmative Action discussion when people start talking about merit because there is no merit. Everyone is gaming the system in some way.

In fairness to Yale, I believe it is free if your household income is under $100k. A lot of people don't realize that elite schools may actually be cheaper than lower tier schools as they have much more generous financial aid...



posted on May, 22 2019 @ 02:41 PM
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Ugh, people bitch waaay too much.

This is 21st century America we're talking about. Quite possible the easiest time and place to live that has ever existed.

Ya, some people have it better, some people had an easier road, that's called life. Quit your bitching, put your head down and get to work. This country is ripe with opportunity for anyone who has a good work ethic and a will to succeed.

If you don't want to work hard, or want to complain that life isn't fair, or want things given to you, then you can go try living somewhere else because you certainly don't appreciate what you have and you definitely don't deserve any sympathy.




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