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There were real victims in the recording scandal (Opinion)



On Friday, actress Felicity Huffman became the first of the 15 defendants found guilty of Operation Varsity Blues. The Emmy-winning star of Desperate Housewives was sentenced by federal judge Indira Talwani to 14 days in prison, a $ 30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service that you should not include in a college application ,

Huffman's term of imprisonment was between the 30 days required by the prosecutors and their defenders' proposal to serve only civilian service. She must be in jail within six weeks, which means she can stay clear long enough to watch the premiere of the Lifetime movie about the Operation Varsity Blues scandal, a drama Town and Country predicts give viewers "the soapy conflict they long for".

Huffman's verdict was closely watched by The Wall Street Journal due to a legal debate reported earlier this month. The debate revolved around the question of whether the actions of Rick Singer and the parents with whom he had conspired had caused financial damage. Some defendants' lawyers have argued that the scandal did not lead to any loss of value and that in fact some universities benefited from the donations channeled through Singer's program. It has been speculated that sentences with little or no jail sentence could affect the defendants who stand trial to plead guilty.

Of course, the argument "no financial damage, no foul" goes wrong. The process of university admission is not just a business transaction, as higher education is more than just a business, even if it does not always seem like that. Education is a public good, and access to education is access to the American dream. College education is an experience that can change a person's life, and the income from completing a college degree can be $ 1

million over the course of your career.

In order to be successful and effective, the profession of university admissions depends on public trust in the college admissions process. When the rich and famous, whether through illicit means or by gaining access, queue up, public confidence that admission to college (hard as it may be) and fairness is dwindling disappears harms both the profession and society.

It is also not the case that Operation Varsity Blues scandal had no victims. Selective admission to colleges and universities targeted by Singer and his co-conspirators is a zero-sum game. In a hyperselective landscape, there are several qualified applicants for each admitted student who are not admitted. Although the scandal participants only penalized a small group of candidates who had earned walk-in slots as oarsmen, water polo players or participants in other sports, there were clearly qualified candidates who were disfranchised by bribery and corruption

Children of those who were involved in the scam. While some of them knew or even participated in the conspiracy, others, including Felicity Huffman's daughter Sophia, knew nothing about it. Huffman's easy judgment was based on the fact that she took full responsibility for her actions and had no previous records. However, she paid $ 15,000 to change Sophia's SAT responses and increase her score by 400 points from his ally Mark Riddell. When Sophia Macy (Huffman is married to actor William Macy, who was not accused in the case, but was obviously aware of the fraud) learned what Huffman had done, she burst into tears and demanded of her mother, "Why have not you? believe in me? Why did not you think that I could do it alone? "

This is the $ 15,000 question that Felicity Huffman must think about, and the more general question we should consider about the Operation Varsity Blues scandal: In my opinion, there were two misconceptions that the OVB -Parents led to criminal behavior.

The first was the belief that the status of the parents and possibly the success of the parents depends on the reputation of the colleges they visit. This is perhaps the ultimate suburb legend that US News & World Report is only too happy to spread and benefit from every fall.

The other is the lack of faith in your child's ability to earn college on their own. I always believed that The college process is more difficult for parents than it is for students, and it tests their basic beliefs about admission to college, about parenting, and perhaps about life gsprozess rational and fair or a game? Should your job as a parent help your child become independent or protect them from disappointment?

As a parent, I learned early on that I have more joy in the successes of my children and feel more pain from their disappointments than anything in my own life. This is natural. What is neither natural nor healthy does not allow our children to be the protagonists on their own travels.

Admission to college should be a monumental achievement for a student. It should test the readiness for the college experience itself. It is a crime to deprive a student of the freedom of choice and of success. I've certainly met more parents in recent years who fervently believe that 17-year-olds are unable to control the college admissions process. I do not want to believe that. In this case, we either have to change the admission procedure or the way we train and prepare students for college.

The parents' real crime in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal is that they do not believe in their children. This is a terrible message that must be sent to children and that Felicity Huffman apparently learned with the help of her daughter Sophia.

And what about Huffman's Operation Varsity Blues co-star Lori Loughlin? She is one of the 19 indicted parents who have voted to fight the lawsuit. Who would have thought that the Olsen twins are not the only members of Full House who is neither sweet nor innocent, or that Bob Saget would turn out to be the moral compass of this show? The Netflix sequel Fuller House is in its final season. Will Full House of Corrections be next?


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