commentary: Cheating in School
The University Admissions Scandal
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 16-Mar-19; Sermon #1478c; 10 minutes
Richard Ritenbaugh discusses the deplorable practice wherein wealthy families have, for over a decade now, collaborated with compromised college test administrators and coaches in order to bypass entrance procedures at some major American universities, including some Ivy League ones. Dishonest 'consultants' arranged to have SAT scores 'corrected,' catapulting deficient PSAT scores into above-adequate SAT results. Some 'consultants' frequently declared examinees to have "learning disability handicaps." In short, some parents will engage in unethical, even felonious practices, in order to position their offspring to enter privileged places within the 'establishment.' Many people will do anything to be with the "in-crowd." Today, following Christ is far from being cool, but in the fullness of time, God's Called-out Ones, holding to God's integrity, will be the genuine Establishment.
I'm sure you heard the news this week that about fifty people were indicted by the U. S. Attorney on felony criminal charges in the biggest bribery scandal in U. S college history. These people who were indicted are charged with bribes (I'll get to who it was in a minute) from as low as a few thousand dollars to six million dollars, all to get one of their kids (or a couple of their kids) into college, or being part of the pipeline of this money transfer to get the kids into college. And this has happened over the last about ten years.
Of course, we we all heard of the celebrities that were part of this thing. Lori Laughlin—most of us know her from Full House, from twenty years ago or so; back in the '90s, I think. I'll tell you what she did in a minute. Also, Felicity Huffman from Desperate Housewives tried to get her daughter into school. They were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud. I hadn't heard of that before, but that's what they were indicted for, and they could get many thousands of dollars in fines and actually jail time if they are convicted for this.
Many of the other people that were indicted were college test administrators. The big guy that was indicted was a guy named William Rick Singer. He's accused of facilitating all this because he had a company—supposedly a charity—where parents of college-age kids could use his services to "help them," and he would do all his dirty work behind scenes.
By the way, the colleges or universities that were part of all this are Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, USC (not the one here; the one out in Southern California that stole the initials), Wake Forest (which is here in North Carolina), University of Texas and University of San Diego.
What they did—to put it in a nutshell here—is they paid an admissions consultant, William Singer, to bribe coaches at these select schools to recruit their kids for positions on various university athletic teams, despite the fact that these kids had no prior athletic experience or had any of the athletic abilities that were needed to get on these teams. In total, this man was paid twenty five million dollars from all the different people that were trying to use his services. And he faces sixty years in prison for the work that he's done.
On the next step of the process after having them recruited, the students needed the SAT scores as well, so this man, this consultant, would pay test prep moderators for the ACT and the SAT to correct student answers. This is one that Felicity Huffman was involved in. She had him pay a test administrator to give her daughter double time to take the test—I believe it was the ACT—claiming that her daughter had a learning disability, which she did not. And then beyond that, they corrected her wrong answers to the point that she got a 1420 on the SAT, which puts her up high enough to get into one of those Ivy League schools. But they were able to see that there must have been something wrong, because her PSAT—the pre test that they took—was scored just over a thousand. So she had jumped up four hundred some points on her SAT, the one she was using to get into the prestigious school. Normally, when you go and retake an SAT, you only jump about sixty or one hundred points at the most. But four hundred was something that caused them to know something was wrong there.
Lori Laughlin paid up to half a million dollars to get her two daughters to become recruited by the USC crew team. Of course, neither of her daughters had probably been on one of those crew boats in their lives. They would be part of the team, but they sit on the bench, as it were.
I just have to shake my head at all this. I'm sure they did it out of the goodness of their hearts. They wanted to do good for their kids, but they clearly lack the ethics and the morality to do it the right and legal way. What did they teach their children? Did they teach their children at all? Did they they just kind of let them go, and then suddenly they have got to go to college, and they get all worried because they are not going to make it in. And they wanted them to go to these very highfalutin', prestigious schools like Stanford and the Ivy League schools and some of these others that cost a lot of money, but if you have them on your resume, you're pretty much guaranteed a job somewhere. That's just the way it is with these schools.
They wanted their kids to be "in." They wanted them to to be successful. But they wanted them not only to be successful, but they wanted him to be super successful. They wanted them to have all the privileges of what we call "the establishment," because these schools that they were going for are the schools that are the pipeline into what we know as the establishment—that is, the ruling class. So instead of training them up in the way they should go, like Proverbs 22:6 says, they instead cheated. They cheated for their kids, using their money and their position as celebrities, or what have you, to get them into the system where they believe—I'm sure—that they deserve to be, because aren't they popular and aren't they successful?
I think it's a lesson for us to consider, just as an exercise, if you will, about what people will do to get what they want; what people will do, especially to be on the inside; to be part of the ruling class, to be part of the ones who are "with it."
We see this a lot today. We saw it yesterday in the "climate change" ditching of school by all those kids across the world, where they would ditch school to get the message across, as they would put it, that something needs to be done about "climate change." But a lot of those kids skipped school, not for "climate change" or any motive other than getting out of school, and they wanted to be seen as someone who was "involved." They learned this early on, and activists are using this idea that people are sheep, and they will pull them in these directions because they have an ulterior motive. There is something they want to get done it, and it's often been a progressive political idea or push.
I think it's important that we listen to this, we think about it, because there will be a time coming at some point in the future when people will do this not just to get in school, but they will want to follow the "in" thing that is the Beast. Think about how far that they will go to follow the Beast.
That brings up the other side of it, which is us: We've been called to be different, to be separate, to actually be low people in this world and not even considered by this world. We are seeing it all the time, how the idea of being a Christian has been slowly going down the list of cool things or good things or societally acceptable things.
I just wanted to bring that to your attention, that we are we are called the weak of the world. But you know, one day we will be part of the establishment—but not man's establishment, not this country's establishment, but God's establishment, in the Kingdom of God.