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Demanding A Level Playing Field

March 18, 2019
By Dr. Plant

Dear Westerly Families,

When I first began planning my column for this week's Wildcat Weekly, it was solely going to be about the exciting Student Showcase next Thursday evening, March 21. But as news of the college admissions scandal has broken over the course of this week, I couldn't hold back on expressing my thoughts on the injustice that has occurred and the glaring light this has shed on the role of privilege in education.

For those of you who don't know, here is a brief recap: Several high net worth individuals from Los Angeles (some very recognizable celebrities included), as well as a number of wealthy individuals from across the country, have been engaged in a "pay to play" system in which they paid exorbitant amounts of money to cheat the college admissions system and buy their children's admission into prestigious universities, including USC, Yale, and Georgetown. Specifically, they used a broker to facilitate someone to take college entrance exams for their students or pay coaches to falsely categorize their children as student-athletes. It's some dirty and icky business that has now resulted in arrests, lawsuits, and tarnished reputations across the board.

Though I am not surprised by this blatant display of privilege with total moral disregard, I am deeply saddened by it and appalled by the modeling of these parents for their children. What are we teaching our children about hard work, responsibility, honesty, and citizenship when we cheat to get them into the college of their choice? What pride and gratification are we stealing from them when we don't empower our children to work hard and reap the benefits of that work for themselves? What are they learning about life and their place in this world, when they get to trounce on other students who may have worked harder, been more qualified, but played by the rules? Rhetorical questions aside...there is simply nothing redeeming for any of the parties involved in this scandal.

So...back to Student Showcase. This IS the opportunity to celebrate and honor your child(ren)'s hard work, dedication, and ambitions. They have EARNED their right to show off their learning to you, to guide you through their campus, their academic journeys, and representation of their academic diligence. This is your opportunity as parents to join together for an evening and celebrate all your child has done to contribute to their own success as they deservedly thrive in school. Come celebrate Thursday, March 21 - it's an Open House from 6-8 pm.

Respectfully,

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