Earlier this week, as news broke of the college admissions scandal—where wealthy parents were essentially paying large sums of money to secure spots for their children in top colleges—I thought to myself, “Yep, that’s not surprising.”
Having worked with some of the most prestigious independent schools in the country, I’ve met a lot of educators who’ve become fatigued by families that choose to wield their financial power over institutions. (There are also many families who use their wealth and privilege in ways that impact communities positively. Creating a single narrative around wealth being the root of poor behavior is not the intention of this blog post). If you were to visit this page, you’d get an idea of how finance plays a large part in the selection of course for the average student.
This latest situation does make me wonder though, at what moment would a parent or guardian think, “It’s okay to pay someone $500,000 to take tests and provide clep study guides for their child and/or take pictures of my child in a crew boat so they can receive entry into college based on their being a fictitious rower?”
It also made me think how lucky we are to be at a school like Puget Sound Community School. We are a school that places value on, and measures success by, what kind of human being our students aim to be. We care more about how they positively impact the world around them. If our students do decide to go to college we are more concerned with it being a good fit for them which is different for every student. There is no “one size fits all” post graduation plans or “one size fits all” college choice.
As former PSCS parent and staff reporter for Crosscut, Knute Berger, wrote recently in his article, “On ‘zealous’ parents and corrupt college admissions, “I’m a believer that education is best when students are driven by their own passions, not force-fed their ‘dreams’ by their parents or institutions. A good education is not the status symbol of being accepted into a blue-chip college or university. A parent’s job, as I saw it, was to nurture the passions that will energize their lives and values.”
(Hint – he gives a shout out to PSCS).
This sentiment rings true to me and it makes me proud to be working at PSCS. We are a community school that leads with our core values: practice integrity, engage the community and act with courage, because we understand what is important, both in education and in life.