How an inequitable distribution of salaries leads to gaming the educational system by parents and colleges.

Two articles in yesterday’s New York Times reveal how attempts to “game the system” have corrupted both college and the process of getting into college. 

On page one of The New York Times, Catherine Rampell tells us of 10 law schools which recently have uniformly added additional points to every student’s grade point average.  For example, Loyola Law School in L.A. is giving all recent students a boost of one-third of a point.  The goal, to state the obvious, is to make the graduates more attractive in the job market.

But it’s clearly a corruption of the system that has grave ramifications in the real world.  Let’s start with what lawyers do.  The core task of the lawyer is to construct an argument or contract based on documents and articles that he or she has analyzed. Sometimes if you’re a litigator, you have to make an oral presentation of what you’ve done.  That sounds just like school work.  In other words, how you do in school really does predict how you are going to do as a lawyer.  Furthermore, because of uniform bar standards, the courses and curricula of most law schools are very, very similar, meaning that an A from Loyola is pretty much comparable to an A at Michigan, that is, if everyone is playing by the same rules and grading the same way.

By the way, not every profession or job is as linked to performance in school as the legal profession is (or engineering, to name another one).  In fact, to excel in school requires only a handful of the many diverse skills and natural talents that people can possess.  More on this point after looking at the other article in yesterday’s Times.

In the local section, Sharon Otterman reports that the New York City Department of Education is thinking about changing how it tests for its gifted programs because so many parents are gaming the test by putting their kids through extensive preparation.

I wonder what these parents think they accomplish by pushing their kids beyond their natural capabilities instead of understanding those capabilities and nurturing the real talent that I believe that every child possesses.  Trying to game the system to help your child advance academically has been going on for about two decades now, and every year it seems to trickle down to more families.  They’re called “helicopter parents” and are the ones who hire consultants to get their kids into the “right” kindergartens, hold their kids back a year, have their kids take one course in summer school to have a lighter load during the high school year, put their kids through rigorous SAT training and hire people to write their kids’ college application form essays.

What will these children do when they are adults in the real world left to their own devices, at least those that don’t go into the family business or have trust fund money? (And if they are set up for life, why bother in the first place?)

Why are both colleges and parents corrupting the system for what they think is the benefit of the young people in their care?  It comes down to the pursuit of money and respect, but then again, in America, all we respect is money, so it comes down to the Benjamins (and the Grants and Jacksons, and even the Washingtons!)

Start with the thought process of the helicopter parent: If I can get Emma into a good kindergarten, she’ll go to a good elementary school, get into a gifted high school, attend an Ivy League college and get a job at a major law, finance, publishing, architecture, accounting, PR or consulting firm and have an enormous income, or maybe make the connections to get in on the ground floor of a major business venture or do her residency in a top-flight teaching hospital.  In any case, she’ll have a big fat salary. Which mostly won’t happen if Little Emma becomes a school teacher, physical therapist, electrician, appliance repair person, computer or design technician, social worker or a plumber.  These professions, some of which do require someone to get a good education, are all interesting and needed by society, but in today’s world they don’t pay all that much money, making more parents want to push their kids into high-paying professions. 

In other words, if the differences in salaries between professionals, business owners and executives and everyone else weren’t so great in the United States, then parents and schools would not feel the need to act in a corrupt and dishonorable manner.  The parents, children and schools contributing to this corruption believe, and wrongly I think, that the purpose of college is nothing more than to purchase a certification that enables you to get the job you want. 

The article on law schools raising GPAs mention that other universities are paying students to take non-paid internships in the public and nonprofit sector, while others are paying law firms to try out their students.  Both seem admirably practical and can be roughly construed as kinds of “work-study” aid.  Both help their students get a leg up in the job market without doing anything to lower academic standards.  Bravo to these schools for trying to help students in an ethical and fair manner.

33 comments on “How an inequitable distribution of salaries leads to gaming the educational system by parents and colleges.
  1. Kip Chanthaumlsa says:

    hey,i like your post

  2. Helene Christen says:

    hi,i like your post

  3. Hobert Prange says:

    I can go along with that

  4. Felicitas Rauer says:

    Thoughtfull info, though i’m not entirely certain i agree.

  5. Merrill Crescenzo says:

    Extraordinary This really is one of the best blogs I’ve ever come across on this subject.

  6. Geraldo Faulkenburg says:

    I love your blog. I’ve added it to my favorite bookmarks and subscribed in a reader. Looking forward to reading more posts by you. Thanks.

  7. George Feichtner says:

    Thank you for this blog post.

  8. Cocoran15 says:

    I’ve been visiting your blog for a while now and I always find a gem in your new posts. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Jerrell Gennett says:

    Great post. Thanks for the info

  10. Maris Maletta says:

    I always follow your blog site. Narrator is very beautiful and informative articles. Would like to thank all the authors I wish you success

  11. conv says:

    I’ve seen many weblogs and I can definitively state that this one is my favorite.

  12. Lestrange says:

    I enjoyed reading your interesting yet very informative insights. I am looking forward to reading more of your most recent articles and blogs.

  13. Krysta Batey says:

    It’s weird how much great information you can find these days on the internet. Thank you for the post good Sir.

  14. Ferdinand Altermatt says:

    There is some nuance in this debate being lost due to national aggregation. Most of the really bad housing situations are really confined to specific areas of the country.

  15. Blackout Blinds says:

    Interesting carry on this concern. I for one have seen many twists on this and can frequently spot the holes within the arguement nevertheless, on this occasion I belelive your writing is this kind of that everyone should be in agreement with this. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  16. patent law firms says:

    I agree with the author that we need to share the knowledge we gain!. . . . . .

  17. drawing books for kids says:

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  18. jazz piano lessons says:

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it.I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  19. drawing of a rose says:

    Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

  20. Shelby Thomas says:

    Hello ! Love your blog.

  21. Real Social Dynamics (RSD) says:

    Bookmarked. Will be back later.

  22. Fitness Advice says:

    This is actually my first time here, truly good looking blog. I discovered a lot of fascinating stuff within your weblog especially it is discussion. From all the comments on your articles, it seems like this is really a extremely popular web site. Maintain up the great function.

  23. Willene Lingner says:

    Many thanks to your insight on this topic. It is been robust to get materials it appears.

  24. Raintree County Film says:

    I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting.

  25. wedge pillows says:

    This is a good step to save paper. And will save the rain forests in Indonesia. Moreover, this will reduce the burden on the back of elementary school students. Of course this will make the traditional printing companies and governments in the third world into a panic because of their unpreparedness of information technology. . .

  26. Johnny Carson Quotes says:

    Cool post! How much stuff did you have to look up in order to write this one? I can tell you put some work in.

  27. The Other Guys Movie Trailer 2010 says:

    I enjoyed reading your interesting yet very informative insights. I am looking forward to reading more of your most recent articles and blogs.

  28. car rental montreal airport says:

    I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.

  29. Deedra Hlavka says:

    Nice piece of data that you’ve got in this website publish. Hope I can get some much more of this stuff on your weblog. I’ll arrive back.

  30. Luana Comeaux says:

    Why didnt I think about this? I hear exactly what youre saying and Im so delighted that I came throughout your web site. You definitely know what youre referring to, and you also made me experience like I must discover far more about this. Thank you for this; Im officially a massive fan of your weblog.

  31. Shayarin Williams says:

    Great web site. A lot of useful information here. I am mailing this to some friends!

  32. My time on this site was well spent. Keep up the great work. 🙂

  33. I dont know who you think you are, but youre just blowing smoke out your ears. Nothing youre saying makes sense and its all a bunch of immature ranting. If you want people to get behind your blog, you should at the very least learn a little something about what youre talking about!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


20 − sixteen =