Operation Varsity Blues: Bad Parenting 101

You’ve probably seen the news stories about the rich and famous who were caught for a college admissions cheating scandal called Operation Varsity Blues. If not, you can check it out HERE from esquire.com

As an teacher, I have MANY thoughts. Cheating to get ahead in education is never a good idea. But- I feel even more disgusted as a parent. These people gave their children a whole lot of messages and none of them are good.

  • Money can buy anything. This whole notion takes the idea of effort and throws it away. It shows that success doesn’t reflect hard work. Write that check and the world is yours. Those of us living outside the glare of fame and money know the opposite to be true.
  • Don’t bother trying. The chance to even try was stolen from the children. Digging in and trying your best with success or failure as the result- that’s where growth happens.
  • We don’t believe you can do it. Those poor kids. Their parents had so little faith in their talents that they paid money to fix the system. Fake athletic photos? Ringers to take the SAT? Correcting incorrect answers? How are these kids supposed to develop healthy self-esteem when their own parents don’t have any confidence in them?
  • Your opinions don’t matter. These kids might have hoped to attend the colleges. However, they might have hoped to try cosmetology school or open restaurants or build houses. Honest conversations could have revealed different desires.
  • I control your life. I’m sure some of these kids have grown up with a level of control that we can’t even understand. They are puppets on strings and this situation is not unlike countless others throughout their privileged lifetimes. They may not even understand that they can and should have dreams and aspirations separate from their parents’ wealth and fame.
  • Let me show you how to scam your way through life. These parents are demonstrating to their children exactly what it takes to use and abuse the system. Haven’t they ever heard that kids will do what you do? Maybe they’re proud of this. Maybe it’s just showing their kids how to run the family business.
  • Rules don’t apply to us. That’s pretty bold. Rules are there for any number of reasons. Fairness. Safety. Protection. Accountability. Responsibility. When parents teach their kids to ignore the rules, they’re asking for trouble.
  • Who cares about others? There were students who earned those spots for college. Students who come from families that needed those scholarships. Students who sacrificed throughout high school to earn the GPA, excel at the sport, crush the ACT or SAT.  What about them? There’s no way to tell how many students were affected by this selfish scam.
  • Partner with me and you’ll get ahead. Let’s go out on a limb and assume that a few of the kids were in on the plans. Did they realize how illegal these choices were? Did their parents give them just enough information to get the kids on board without revealing the ugly details? I kind of think that these kids should  have been smart enough to understand that something about this was wrong, but maybe I’m giving them more credit than I should. Maybe partnering with mom and dad in bamboozling folks has been going on for so long that the kids don’t know anything different.

C’mon, rich and famous people. You blew it! Set the bar higher from now on. If you can’t help your own kids grow into thriving, honest, productive members of society, who will?

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