Cheating parents learn life lesson

Published 6:48 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

am finding it interesting how the news media are making such a fuss over what I am calling the prep school scandal.

Folks seem to be stunned and outraged at how those with money and fame have managed to get their kids into “elite” schools.

Like this is something new, please!

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I would highly suspect, as would many that this type of nepotism has been going on for as long as kids and their parents have been searching out higher learning institutions.

And for those who would argue, maybe it’s time to pull your head out of the sand.

The only difference with this particular situation is that they got caught.

I was curious as to how the FBI got tipped-off to what they are now calling “Operation Varsity Blues,” and after a little web surfing, I discovered it was all by accident.

According to, the investigation into a scheme, which was created by Rick Singer, the founder of the consulting company that was aiding the kids and parents, began in May of 2018 when the FBI stumbled across a lead while working on a completely unrelated and separate investigation. (I can’t wait to find out what that may be.)

Singer’s firm goes back to 2011, the website stated, and money involved could be higher than $25 million.

That’s a lot of cash for kids, but is it really?

While it may be legal, the website pointed out that at five different Ivy League schools, more students came from the top one-percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.

Pretty sure these families’ incomes would far exceed the $25 mil. Take for instance Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law who was admitted to Harvard after his father made a $2.5million donation to the school despite Jared’s high school academic record.

I just wondered how he managed to graduate.

This same website also pointed out other practices colleges offer to wealthy parents and their less than academic worthy children, including legacy admissions. This is when applicants with family ties to a university are given preferential treatment. In a 2011 study of admissions decisions at 30 highly selective colleges and universities found that legacy status, especially those who donate, accounted for a more than three-fold increase in acceptance.

Another factor that can aid children from wealthy families includes being accepted to a “prestigious” university because of athletics. Predominately Ivy League schools offer sports like rowing crew, golf, water polo and fencing, which are sports that would preclude many teens from participating in high school due to financial barriers.

Then there are the college prep courses. Some parents are paying upwards of $1 million for a full-service package of college admissions consulting.

So how do you level the playing field?

I don’t think you can.

This is just one of those things about life that is not fair.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am not saying these families that got caught in the scandal should get-off scott-free, I say the contrary.

But I am not going to fool myself.

While “Operation Varsity Blues” may serve as an example to some, there are plenty of other parents who will continue to do whatever it takes to provide as they see fit for their children, even if it means cheating the system.

In my opinion, most parents want the best for their children. How we go about making this happen differs greatly.

However, in my experience, I have learned that sometimes too much parental help can backfire, just like for those involved in the scandal.

As a parent, there are times we have to let our children figure out their own path.

Gosh, that is hard to do!

But the alternative could be worse.

I can’t imagine what these parents are feeling right now. But certainly one thing is clear.

While at these prestigious universities, a lesson has surely been learned.

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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