Accessing to quality education; benefiting from high knowledge from the best professors of the world: who would refuse it when means and opportunity allow? According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, providing education must be an undisputable duty of every politician, for all citizens aspire to knowledge (Aristotle, trans, 1989). Yet is it worth spending all possible means to justify that one has accessed to education? How to fairly and equitably access to knowledge? Are all kids welcome? Why could the kids from the well-off families study in a poor community college when there are ways to enter into Yale or Stanford? These are some of the questions that provokes me while watching the TV series “The American Greed- The College Admissions Scandal” – Question that preoccupy today’s generation, parents, and educational leaders. Money fix everything. This is our common saying! Yet does money suffice to make student a graduate of the university of his/her predilection? If not, what ought to be done to address the drama into play today? Who is losing, who is gaining amidst of this educational scandal? My short reflection may assess all arising questions. I would rather want to sum up them into two main questions: What are the illegal pathways which have been used, and what are the charges of the wrongdoers? How was the issue to solved?
Tacking this issue, the unusual way of admitting students to universities was done through the so-called: “The Key Worldwide Foundation,” by William Rick Singer. As reports American Greed: College Admissions Scandal (Keach S, 2019), the mastermind accumulated $ 25 millions, by asking $2,500 dollars from each client every year, a sum which helped to break through the gate of the best-known universities. At the first glance, the so-called foundation was viewed as a way of assisting underprivileged families. It was not so. Keach alleges that the foundation was gaining from the well-off families. By requesting a great deal of money from elite parents, Rick Singer succeeded to get admissions of a number of students in the elite universities such as Georgetown University, Yale and Stanford, among others. When a number of universities in the U.S would seek athletic students, Rick Singer bribed university recruiters to consider non-athletic students as athletes. It works today. Through graphic design, one could easily be designed as a pro-swimmer while he/she has never even stepped in pool’s washrooms! The issue was all about using big donations as bribery. In a state of desperation, searching for quality education for their kids, rich parents including movies star such as has Felicity Huffman, found themselves inside the trap. One would rightly observe these parents have been cooperators in this affair, and the large system of universities did not resist such a temptation.
The fraudulent admissions of some U.S universities could be seen as mirroring social imbalances, a disconnect between students from privileged and underprivileged families. In keeping with what Aristotle proposes as regards to public education, its ethics and politics (Aristotle, trans, 1989), I would underline that:
– All students should be given equal access to quality education, not by the amount of money they provide, but their knowledge, their skills, their competence.
– Legislators should put fair mechanisms and procedures that assist all parents and students to that aim.
– The root cause of the problem could be viewed in a society which put money at the center of education. Money is crucial for our flourishing but it should not be a solution for everything. As long as bribery will infiltrate education, the whole system will lose its power and influence.
-The judiciary should make further investigations to prosecute the wrongdoers. Need also is to differ with educational injustices by talking about it.
– Last but not least, comprehensive reforms in universities are required: that give an inclusive education, knowledge and skills based, not money oriented.
As I look at the magnitude of the issue, the aforementioned propositions may not be enough to solve the problem. What do you think parents and political leaders must do so that the current generation equally and justly access to universities of their dream?
CNBC “The American Greed, The College Admission Scandal”https://www.cnbc.com/american-greed/
Barnes, Jonathan, ed. The Complete Works of Aristotle. Rev. ed. Translation, Princeton: Princeton University, Press, 1989.