After I was admitted to Harvard Law School, I attended orientation. Our 500-strong class was gathered in Memorial Hall, in historic Sanders Theater, where then-Dean Elena Kagan (now Supreme Court Justice) spoke to us. She informed us that the competition was over – we were in! No need to worry about the stuff we’d seen in The Paper Chase – we were all going to leave with degrees and jobs. Not just that – as graduates of Harvard Law, we were destined to rule the universe. She informed us of how many alumni were in the Senate, how many in Congress, how many on the Supreme Court. The battle was over upon our acceptance to the institution.
All of this has significant social ramifications, of course. It means that our meritocracy doesn’t begin in college – it ends, for many, upon admission to college. And that, in turn, means that the failures of our lower education system loom larger. It also means that in the absence of functional non-collegiate social institutions, the social gap between college-goers and non-college-goers will grow.
This also has significant political ramifications. It means that students admitted to colleges expect to be pampered, not challenged. Professor Harvey Mansfield of Harvard University was essentially forced by the administration not to give honest grades – he started giving two grades, one for merit, and then one for the administration, so as not to penalize people for taking his classes. Politically, this also means that students expect not to be challenged – they expect to be comfortable. Professors who challenge their politics, for example, may threaten their “college experience” – which may, in turn, threaten their social capital. Professors who make students feel uncomfortable may be threatening the ease they were promised. Discomfort becomes a bug, not a feature, of higher education. Pampering becomes the rule.
That’s why rich and famous people would spend oodles of money just to get their kids into top universities: not because their kids won’t have jobs or will go hungry, but because they want their kids credentialed and admitted into the social club. This story, then, is less about people committing a crime, and more about a system that fails the tests of meritocratic education so badly that people can buy their way past the merit and the education.
Ummm....GWB took his undergrad at Yale. And I'm not sure anyone is allowed to graduate with less than a 2.0, anywhere...think about it. Below a 2.0 after your sophomore year lands you on academic probation and thence out the door if you don't improve. That's standard throughout academe, no?
GWB did go to Harvard Business School, but have you ever seen a grad program that will maintain someone who collects more than one "C"?
I'm sure George was a mediocre student, but he had to get his gentleman's "C"s.
But notice that he received a grade of 'NP' in four classes on the right. Those are classes that he dropped, probably because he was flunking them, and did not want those grades to pull down his GPA even further. He was only able to get into the Harvard MBA program via his father pulling some strings, and then we have several of his Harvard professors commenting on what an awful student he was. Shrug.
I think they do because people keep thinking they're the center of the universe. Maybe we can wake America up that all these shiny people they are so in love with are phony fucks who just want to make money off them.
I am not sure about your experience but where I teach higher ed, if an instructor is giving out a lot of A's, administration will audit your class. That is a shame to hear about grade inflation from Harvard. Won't that eventually affect the reputation of the university?
I think it has already affected the reputation of Harvard, quite frankly. I think people are generally FAR more impressed to hear a person has a Ph.D. from MIT-------the Massachusetts Institute of Technology------than a Ph.D. from Harvard.
I think this is because they realize-----if only subconsciously------that MIT is a much HARDER school than Harvard. You DON'T go to MIT and get straight A's...….unless you are a genuine, certifiable GENIUS.
The university that actually has the reputation of being the TOUGHEST university, in the sense of being the HARDEST place to get an 'A' at, is Cal Tech. That place is a wringer. And yet I know a person who went there and DID get straight A's. Unheard of. He was also on the U.S. Mathematics Olympiad Team. Wish I could claim he was a student of mine. I can't. His younger brother was, though. He, too, was an excellent student and a very good chess player on my team, but not a high-level uber-genius like his older brother, who I met maybe half a dozen times.
If you don't think a Ph.D. from Cal Tech or MIT is more impressive than one from Harvard......I think you need to re-calibrate your thinking......
Actresses and chief executives are among 50 people arrested in a nationwide college admissions cheating scam, authorities announced Tuesday.
According to charging documents, actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among those involved facing charges.
The suspects allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million to get their kids into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC.
In most cases, the students did not know their admission was contingent on a bribe.
University athletic coaches and administrators of college entrance exams were also among those arrested. The alleged scheme focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment.
The plot involved students who attended or were seeking to attend Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, USC, University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale, according to federal prosecutors.
There's no indication that the schools were involved in any of the wrong-doing.
I’m picking on you because yours is only the most recent example: trying to spin this on Republicans and Trump is a non-starter considering our institutions of higher education are basically bastions of modern liberalism and social justice. That’s all I’ve seen from the resident left here, is continuous reminders about Trump and W. Bush, to try to throw the shade off of higher ed and their role in this.
Especially considering that donating generously directly to universities/alma maters is the traditional, legal way to cheat your kids into university, I think this whole exposé is a spotlight on higher education’s hypocritical and enormous contribution to inequality, all their lip service proclamations about “social justice” notwithstanding.