Here’s another fun college admissions-related scandal, this one set at Sidwell Friends School, the Quaker K-12 school for Washington D.C.’s shakers and movers. Tuition is:
$42,372 (includes hot lunch)
But what kind of hot lunch does your kid get for $42,372? It better not be Salisbury Steak.
From the Washington Post:
By Caitlin Gibson April 3
The message seemed to confirm the vague rumors that had circulated for weeks — murmurs about parents behaving badly, even going so far as to disparage other students, presumably to give their own teens a leg up in the high-stakes college admissions competition. …
“Instead of embracing the opportunity to share resources with students who might not have as many resources, some parents are guiding their students to not reveal where they’re applying, to not talk about college visits, or not share information about summer programs or opportunities that might help other kids be stronger applicants,” he said.
An anonymous iSteve commenter explains:
What it boils down to is that parents are trying to anonymously fink on the unsavory social media gaffes of other kids at the school. They do this both to the counselors at the high school, and apparently they are sometimes sending the information to Ivy League admissions offices.
My read on it is that Ivy Leagues now have an informal quota per high school, even if the high schools are elite and the kids are smart on standardized tests. So that has produced intra-school strife.
I recall in c. 1975 running into at a debate tournament a Beverly Hills H.S. college counselor who said that 180 students BHHS had applied to Stanford the previous year, but only 18 got in. She felt this represented a quota to hold down Beverly Hills students from getting their rightful share of Stanford admissions. These days, a 10% admissions rate at Stanford would be twice the national average, but I believe back then it was below the general rate. Whether the average one of the 180 BHHS applicants was better or worse than the average national applicant is something I wondered about at the time. I could see it going either way.
I’m not sure why the parents are finking to the high school, however. And nobody seems to have gotten a comment from university admissions officers, so who knows if they “appreciate” the “help.” I mean, on the one hand, it gives them a chance to unmask smirking straight, cisgender white male black-facers and taco-night mini sombrero wearers …
Perhaps this has been going on for years, but it also sounds like it could be a repercussion to last year’s Kavanaugh-Blasey Ford whoop-tee-doo: Why wait decades to try to destroy somebody over his high school behavior when you can do it NOW? Granted, cabinet undersecretaries snitching on schoolchildren is kind of weird, but “weird” is a highly relative concept in the Current Year.
Next up: Parents will be creating fake accounts for competing kids at their high school, starting years before, and maintaining them, with the occasional racist and transphobic post or tweet. And then some company will start to sell such services and offer specialized advice, like how to misspell racist posts so that algorithms don’t find them and delete the accounts before admissions officials can see them. And then the feds will bust the racket.
Honestly, if you are a parent, it might be better to get your kid into a lower ranked “elite” high school at this point, if there are quotas per school. Or transfer your kid in senior year to Martin Luther King Jr. High and hope he’s not killed. Or just send your kid to a good state research university and be done with it, especially if the kid is not Einstein.
I love college admissions scandals.