Admissions Scandal Is So Very Rhode Island


I’ve got an op-ed in today’s Washington Times, about Rhode Island’s own connection with the college-entrance bribery scandal:

When Rhode Islanders heard that the women’s tennis coach of the state’s public university had been arrested in connection with the national bribery for admission scandal, many must have said, “Wait, what?” Students can get an excellent education at the University of Rhode Island, and it’s certainly an affordable option, but it isn’t exactly an institution for which the nation’s rich and famous would have to pay the sort of premium that might attract the FBI’s attention.

When they learned the details, locals’ reaction was probably something more like, “How very Rhode Island.”

This paragraph is probably the key takeaway for Rhode Islanders:

Rhode Island’s leaders are like the parents who’ve bribed their children’s way into institutions of higher education that were well beyond their merit. Both cases exhibit an implicit insecurity and a desire for people under their care or authority to be something they’re not. In contrast, the initial questions that political leaders and parents ask should be: Who are you really, and how can you achieve your full potential, being who you are? With that more-human perspective as the starting point, parents might not set their children up for embarrassing failure (or criminal prosecution).

Read the whole thing, as they say.

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  • ShannonEntropy

    An excellent read, Justin !!

    There is a popular misconception tho, that getting your kid into a school that is above their level of competence is somehow “set[ting] them up for embarrassing failure”, as you put it

    In fact, once you get your foot in the door of any college — Ivies included — you are basically guaranteed to get a degree. Heck, even infamous slacker JFK Jr got a degree from Brown. The trick is to simply pick a non-STEM field to major in

    Brown duzn’t even have a basic curriculum, meaning you can get a degree taking nothing but pass / fail feminist literature courses — not a single math, science or language course is required

    STEM fields are a horse of a different color tho. Take a look at Brown’s prerequisites and degree program in — just to pluck a STEM field randomly — Astronomy: