Meritocracy is a myth invented by the rich | Nathan Robinson

The Guardian - Mar 14, 12:20 GMT

The college admissions scandal is a reminder that wealth, not talent, is what determines the opportunities you have in lifeThe US college admissions scandal is fascinating, if not surprising

The college admissions scandal is a reminder that wealth, not talent, is what determines the opportunities you have in life

The US college admissions scandal is fascinating, if not surprising. Over 30 wealthy parents have been criminally charged over a scheme in which they allegedly paid a company large sums of money to get their children into top universities. The duplicity involved was extreme: everything from paying off university officials to inventing learning disabilities to facilitate cheating on standardized tests. One father even faked a photo of his son pole vaulting in order to convince admissions officers that the boy was a star athlete.

It’s no secret that wealthy people will do nearly anything to get their kids into good schools. But this scandal only begins to reveal the lies that sustain the American idea of meritocracy. William “Rick” Singer, who admitted to orchestrating the scam, explained that there are three ways in which a student can get into the college of their choice: “There is a front door which is you get in on your own. The back door is through institutional advancement, which is ten times as much money. And I’ve created this side door.” The “side door” he’s referring to is outright crime, literally paying bribes and faking test scores. It’s impossible to know how common that is, but there’s reason to suspect it’s comparatively rare. Why? Because for the most part, the wealthy don’t need to pay illegal bribes. They can already pay perfectly legal ones.

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