The Wealthy Advantage
Every summer, there are millions, maybe even billions, of high school students cramped into small classrooms all across the nation. These students might not be the smartest, or the most motivated, or even hard-working, but they all have one thing in common: their parents have a hell lot of money. These days, especially in this economy, it is a growing battle to get into a good college.
Some parents have found a solution to this dilemma: a solution that begins on the day their babies enter this world. As soon as their baby is a few months old, it’s off to the most expensive preschool for their precious child. Then, when their child reaches the age of three, the various assortments of classes begin. There’s art classes, piano lessons, violin lessons, dance classes, and of course, a bunch of different sports classes and little leagues. When first grade rolls around, it’s finally time to send them to afterschool tutoring centers to help them with their homework.
Especially in high school, as soon as their child’s grades begin slipping from an A to a B, it is the end of the world and the frantic parent immediately calls up expensive tutoring centers in desperate search for a private tutor. “Honey, I’ve noticed that you got a B+ on that biology test two days ago. But don’t worry, I’ve paid $400 for a private tutor to come to our house every other day to help you with your homework.” “Aww, thanks mom. Now I don’t have to use my brain to figure out the answers to these hard mitosis problems by myself because I have a private tutor to teach me how to do my homework.” Yes, and that’s how all these “great geniuses” end up with 4.
8 GPA’s while the rest of us stupid people struggle to learn the material with the teacher’s help alone and do the homework with nothing more than a calculator. Now, not only do these filthy rich parents pay for private tutors, but they also spend thousands of dollars paying for summer SAT classes, ACT classes, AP classes, and private counselors that help you fill out college applications, write application essays, create your resume, and teach you everything you need to know to get into the college of your dreams, for a small fee, of course. And on graduation day, when their child walks up to the principal to receive his diploma, the proud mother and father are pointing at him and whispering to all those around them how he’s going off to Harvard this fall, acting as if he got accepted through his own merits. This, unfortunately, is the sad reality of the world around us.
What happened to the land of opportunity? What happened to the place where everyone is entitled to the same education? At the recent sophomore parent-student-counselor planning conference I attended, I received a colorful SAT brochure. One particular line sticks out from my memory: “It gives you an equal chance. The SAT was created to help promote equality in college admission. It still does so today. The SAT is the most rigorously researched and designed test in the world, which ensures that students from all backgrounds have an equal chance to succeed.
” This is the biggest piece of BS that I have ever heard. Correction: the SAT ensures that students with rich parents have a damn good chance to succeed. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. This is not fair to the less fortunate children who are born into poorer families that can’t pay for private tutors. This is not fair to the hard-working students who actually try in school when their only disadvantage is that they don’t have millionaires for parents. Now, I will admit: there are poor students out there who create opportunities for themselves through hard work and actual talent.
I can only hope that someday, these true “geniuses” will overshadow the phony ones.