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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Why The College Admissions Scandal Didn't Shock Me

Parenting brings out the strongest feelings in most of us and we will do just about anything to see our children succeed.  Helicopter and Snowplow parenting is common in our society even though studies demonstrate these practices aren't actually good for our kids.  But for most in our culture, personal gain is more valuable than the common good.  Sometimes, we might feel shame for self-promotion, but the parent who does everything possible to promote and benefit his or her child is commended.

We abandon struggling schools to move to more prestigious districts or enjoy the privilege of home schooling.  We choose the club team over the school team.  We teach equality yet enjoy the vast benefits of our own upbringing and the best our money allows.  We always seek what seems best of our own, often at the cost of the greater common community.

Personally, I have struggled to find the balance between enabling and empowering my child.  We are in a 'struggling' school zone known to be less-than-elite.  It often seems that anyone who is able sends their child to a private school or moves away once they reach middle school and beyond.  I can't say I haven't looked for alternatives myself.  I have experienced and witnessed how parents will do anything they feel will benefit their own child - even at great cost to themselves and others.

Higher education already feels so very discriminatory based on your financial resources and personal connections.  Honestly, I thought money could get you into any school long before these allegations came forward.
  • A parent will go to great measures for what he or she perceives is best for their own child.  
  • Unlimited resources open doors that aren't available to everyone.  
These two concepts made me genuinely surprised that the college admissions scandal was such big news.  I wish I was surprised by the scandal, but I already assumed such behavior was taking place.  I didn't even consider that faked test scores and false athletic endeavors would be needed.

How can we respond as parents?

We need to reinforce the truth that there isn't one formula for success.  What happens in education is defined by our family values, individual student strengths and goals.

Character is more indicative for life-success than a resume.  We can teach our children that success isn't determined by college acceptance - Life continues well beyond that benchmark and traits such as integrity, peace, family, community contribution and the ability to work hard are traits to be admired. 

I wasn't shocked and even understand the drive to give our children all we can.  I hope our bond and connections with our children provide the greater source of strength and advantage than attending specific schools and attaining certain careers. 

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