Corruptive Universities Make Us Dumb. Part 1
Next Post

Press {{ keys }} + D to make this page bookmarked.


Corruptive Universities Make Us Dumb. Part 1


ALABAMA – March 21, 2019

Daniel Golden, the ProPublica editor and author of The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates, was one of the first to call attention to the grandiose corruption scandal with how rich parents get their children into college.

Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among the dozens of parents facing federal charges. Federal prosecutors said 50 people took part in a scheme that involved either cheating on standardized tests or bribing college coaches and school officials to accept students as college athletes -- even if the student had never played that sport.

Those indicted in the investigation, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues," allegedly paid bribes of up to $6.5 million to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said. In addition, some parents paid between $15,000 and $75,000 per test to help their children get a better score.

The reaction of the country was mixed, as expected. Most were outraged that the powers that be could spit on the law and morality to get their children into elite universities thereby denying spots for less privileged, harder-working kids.

A group of parents and college students who were rejected from the schools filed a federal lawsuit against them, saying they would not have wasted their time and money applying had they known the process was "warped and rigged by fraud."

Some involved in the scandal were also surprised by this and made their public apologies.

"I know there are millions of kids out there both wealthy and less fortunate who grind their ass off just to have a shot at the college of their dreams," said Jack Buckingham, son of California businesswoman Jane Buckingham.

Universities have also casually declared their civil position on the readiness to conduct an investigation. A spokesman for the University of California said it's investigating a former student who allegedly submitted fraudulent SAT scores. The student has since graduated, and it's not clear what actions the university might take.

The University of Southern California said it fired senior athletic director Donna Heinel and water polo coach Jovan Vavic, who are both charged in the scheme.

Stanford University has fired head sailing coach John Vandemoer, who has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy.

Wake Forest University said it has put head volleyball coach Bill Ferguson on leave. Ferguson faces a charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering.

The University of Texas at Austin said it dismissed men's tennis coach Michael Center who is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud a day after placing him on leave.

Yale University said it will continue cooperating with investigators after former women's soccer coach Rudolph "Rudy" Meredith was charged.

Georgetown University said it was "deeply disappointed" to find out former tennis coach Gordon Ernst is charged in the scheme but added Ernst "has not coached our tennis team since Dec. 2017, following an internal investigation that found he had violated University rules concerning admissions." The admissions cycle at Georgetown is proceeding forward as planned, according to the school, which says Ernst is no longer there and thus cannot potentially affect admissions processes.

Corruptive Universities Make Us Dumb. Part 1

And so on. No university or so-called university press service has admitted that half if not most of the blame lies with them and the administration that allowed the possibility of fraud on their campuses. But several staff involved in the scandal have already been already fired. No more problems.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a current presidential candidate and former school teacher expressed outrage over the scandal in an interview Tuesday with ABC News.

"This is just stunning," Warren said. "To me this is just one more example of how the rich and powerful know how to take care of their own."

Here you can find some of the indictments against the defendants.

Among charged in the case are:

John Vandemoer, 41, the head sailing coach at Stanford University

Gordon Ernst, 52, former head coach of men and women's tennis at Georgetown University

Ali Khoroshahin, 49, the former head coach of women's soccer at USC

Laura Janke, 36, former assistant coach of women's soccer at USC

Jorge Salcedo, 46, the former head coach of men's soccer at UCLA

Michael Center, 54, the head coach of men's tennis at the University of Texas at Austin

Martin Fox, 62, president of a private tennis academy in Houston

Gamal Abdelaziz, 62, of Las Vegas

Diane Blake, 55, and Todd Blake, 53, of San Francisco

Jane Buckingham, 50, of Beverly Hills

I-Hin "Joey" Chen, 64, of Newport Beach

Amy Colburn, 59, and Gregory Colburn, 61, of Palo Alto, California

Robert Flaxman, 62, of Laguna Beach, California

Elizabeth Henriquez, 56, and Manuel Henriquez, 55, of Atherton, California

Douglas Hodges, 61, of Laguna Beach, California

Agustin Huneeus Jr., 53, of San Francisco

Bruce Isackson, 61, and Davina Isackson, 55, of Hillsborough, California

Michelle Janavs, 48, of Newport Coast, California

Elisabeth Kimmel, 54, of Las Vegas

Marjorie Klapper, 50, of Menlow Park, California

Toby MacFarlane; 56; of Del Mar, California

Devin Sloane, 53, of Los Angeles

John Wilson, 59, of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

Homayoun Zadeh, 57, of Calabasas, California

Marci Palatella, 63, of Healdburg, California

Peter Jan Sartorio, 53, of Menlo Park, California

Stephen Semprevivo, 53, of Los Angeles.

It’s tragic, it’s infuriating, and it’s the logical result of the insanity of our sham "meritocracy," Americans say.

This case may not seem new because people are accustomed to such conditions there the rich run everything. Others say that such racketeering and injustice has long turned the US into a place of contention.

Privileged families have long been engaged in a "meritocratic" arms race to get their kids into these "elite" institutions. There’s the $50,000 to $60,000 private schools with their minimalist student-teacher ratios, the violin lessons, the tennis instructors and travel soccer teams, the resume-building work-study summers abroad, the internships with famous corporations and NGOs, and, yes, all the tutoring to make those gleaming grades and ace those college admissions tests—all of it—it’s a profound corruption of the meaning and purpose of "education," far more corrosive to society than anything in today’s indictments.

In this regard, in 1968, as Steven Brill recounts in his book Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall-and Those Fighting to Reverse It, a freshly minted graduate from a "top-tier" law school received a starting salary about 25% higher than the annual income of the average American family. Today, Brill notes these young lawyers earn a salary more than 230% higher than the average American. Among business and finance grads from "top" schools, the disparities can be even greater. The Harvard Business School graduating class of 1986 reported a median net worth of $6 million in 2012, at a time when the markets were still recovering from the financial crisis. The figure would be much higher today. The median net worth of the average American household is $97,300.

The elite always knew their place in society -- most often on the pedestal of society.

Why so, you ask?

The education system crisis drove the Anglo-Saxons into a debt hole

For many years, the middle classes of Britain and United States were a showcase of Western life that is prosperous and safe. Now this "backbone of society" is decaying before our eyes. After several economic crises, it got stuck in education debts. Their payment can last for decades and even wealthy families end up living paycheck to paycheck.

Until recently, investments in education seemed to be the most reliable financial instrument, and the diploma of the prestigious Western university was the ideal beginning of life. But the more people sent their children to universities, the less demand they found on the labor market for their diplomas and degrees.

Millennials have become the most highly educated generation in the history of mankind, but their representatives are increasingly faced with the fact that their academic knowledge is not needed by anyone. This applies even to the best West universities, where the richest send their offspring. Last year, only half the graduates of British universities found a job in their specialty. The rest went to wash dishes in restaurants and make coffee in cafes.

Young Oxford and Cambridge graduates regularly complain to the press about the difficulties in finding a job, especially those who studied humanities. The most they can find is a freelance or temporary internship in a more or less well-known company. But if before such free internships lasted one or two months and often guaranteed a full place in the company, now they can stretch on for six months.

The young intern spends all that time without receiving a penny. Then he’s thanked, given a nice souvenir, and shown the door. The search for a permanent job can go on for years.

This problem has been coming for a long time. People created it themselves and now complain there is no work. The good ol’ days won’t return until every realizes it’s necessary to change the whole system. The Bologna system of education is no longer effective but most of the world is still trying to implement it in all spheres of life. Robots should not replace humans, people say unanimously, but try to replace them. This is a problem of the system, it is not a problem of the US or the UK separately.

However, the most acute problem of graduates was educational debts. In continental Europe, it's easier. In most countries, education for locals is free, or relatively inexpensive, with the exception of medical, legal, and economic specialties. In the end, credit is not required very often.

In the United States, about 44 million people are now forced to pay debts accumulated during their studies. The total amount of their debts is only slightly less than one and a half trillion dollars, the average size of each of the debts – from several tens to several hundred thousand dollars. They spend decades paying off their loans

In the 1980s, the yuppies of this age would have already mortgaged a house and bought a couple of cars on credit, today's graduates continue to pay and pay for their education.

American journalist MH Miller spoke in his heartfelt article for the Guardian about how it looks in practice. He studied at New York University in 2010, receiving a BA and an MA in English literature, with more than $100,000 debt.

Miller’s elderly parents lost their jobs in 2008. They first had to mortgage and then sell their house. By 2010, they had moved into a rented apartment in New York and were able to find work, but soon Miller's mother became ill with cancer, and medical bills destroyed the family's economy. The journalist's parents were declared bankrupt, they lost all the attributes of the middle class, including their car, with the exception their HBO subscription. However, they didn’t lose the dream of sending their son to a good university.

The family continued to spend about $50,000 per year on their son’s education and accommodation. It’s amazing that the largest banks continued to give them loans, although the family’s desperate financial situation was obvious. Although it is a rarity when banks give loans to debtors, apparently the US is the exception when there is a debtor and another way to take money from him.

Instead of going to work, Miller continued to study, studying the works of Virginia Woolf, doing translations from Old English and dreaming of becoming a writer. After receiving his diploma, he joined the usual society precariat. He found only freelance offers, finding a newspaper job only a year-and-a-half later that paid about $1,800 per month, most of which went to repay his loans.

Miller was thinking of suicide. However, his father explained to him this was not the way out – then the debt would pass to his parents, who have long since passed sixty.

Shutterstock/Svitlana Medvedieva

The debt was restructured several times, passing from one bank to another, with interest and penalties increasing. The family constantly spoke with banks to get a better deal and even wrote to Congressman Joseph Crowley, but it didn’t do any good.

Today, 30-year-old Miller works as a New York Times editor. Despite regular payments, his loan debt continues to grow, already reaching $182,000. If all goes well, he will finally pay off the bank when he turns 44. Before that, he can’t dream of a mortgage on a house or a car or a European vacation. It’s hard to even think about buying food and clothes.

Miller used to be in the cream of society--

Formally, Miller belongs to the society cream – a highly educated middle class man with a prestigious job in New York. Now he doesn’t even dare have a family thanks to his poverty. He tries not to think about what will happen if he loses his job, as he is also concerned about his parents.

The same thing happened to  Rodney Spangler who first enrolled at the University of North Texas in 2001, pursuing a degree  in what the school now calls "integrative studies," focusing on history, philosophy, and criminal justice. Rodney also worked full time, and so attended UNT on and off until 2007.

He took out student loans for every semester. He estimates that when he left without a degree he had about $30,000 in outstanding student debt.

He paid some bills while others piled up. Overwhelmed, Spangler stopped paying. Today, thanks to interest and delinquency penalties, he estimates his outstanding debt is about $60,000—double what it was. "I just don't see how I can ever pay those off," Spangler said, "short of winning the lottery."

The situation is the same: he found a job, but no romantic life, and his parents help pay his debt. He has been "a little reticent to pursue a serious relationship," thanks in part to fear of being judged for his debt.

Today Spangler is not alone: He's one of the 44 million Americans who hold student debt-- 30% of the population who have attended college. Together, they owe about $1.5 trillion, a bigger burden than credit cards, auto loans, or any other non-mortgage debt.

And we can’t say these are just unlucky cases. The financial collapse of Miller’s family fully corresponds to the negative trends in the US economy. First, the recession of 2008 deprived his parents of work. Then the banks mindlessly lent them loans. When the mother fell ill, an expensive and inefficient health care system came into play. That is, his family’s troubles are of a systemic nature.

If the problems of the millennials continue to grow at the same rate, by the time Miller or Spangler pay their loans, the American middle class will be just a memory.

As for the official data, by November 2018, the volume of outstanding debt on higher education loans reached $1.465 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve, Bloomberg reports. As noted, the debts for the training of American students increased more than 2 times compared to 2009, when the debt amounted to $675 billion.

Experts note that the growth of this indicator increases the fiscal risks for the country economy. The Institute of international Finance economist Paul Della Guardia said in the event of an economic downturn and an increase in defaults on these loans, the main burden will shift to the country budget.

"Over 90% of student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education, meaning that if a recession causes a rise in youth unemployment and triggers mass defaults, this contingent liability could prove burdensome for the U.S. government budget," he said.

US Department of Education

Over the past year, there has also been an increase in the number of persons with significant debt obligations on loans for higher education: According to the U.S. Department of Education, 2.7 million people had debt obligations on these loans of $100,000 or more. In 2017, this figure was 2.5 million people.

Finally, the third problem of the whole education system in the United States is the lack of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, which is noted by both students and experts in the field of education.

Nowadays, most college courses don't use writing assignments. Instead, knowledge is evaluated by a series of tests with multiple choice questions. The questions are usually ridiculously easy, because most high school graduates going to college don't always have even basic skills and have to take the appropriate courses. Recall the aforementioned Bologna system. That's what this is.

The only problem is that none of these tests provide quality knowledge. The only thing the student will remember is a certain point in the test. Currently, the quality of education has deteriorated so dramatically that most college subjects are practically useless from a practical point of view, but for many professions a person still needs a college degree. In addition, students are forced to have a dozen additional classes and electives that are paid for despite the alleged free training in some countries.

In this way, a scheme of fraud is created when many thousands of the so-called administrators, diversity specialists, and career consultants fatten at the expense of students, not giving the necessary knowledge in return. Due to the same student loans, beautiful new lecture halls, residential complexes and sports stadiums are being built in colleges. Publishers of unnecessary textbooks are also involved in this scheme.

The college education industry convinces Americans of the need for paid educational services without taking into account the fabulous prices.

Although, if you threw out all the unnecessary items, studying would be much cheaper. But then the entire educational American business model would suffer financial losses.

Of course, many young Americans are full of regret, going out into the real world and realizing their student loan debt will financially cripple them for the rest of their lives and bitterly realizing they received little of value in their education.

Author: USA Really