Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Mar 11 2019

Future of Learning Top Reads: “The College Admissions Scandal” Edition


scan·dal | \ ˈskan-dᵊl  \

A circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it. (From the Meriam Webster Dictionary)


“How a bombshell bribery scandal illuminates the ‘corruption’ of college admissions,” on PBS NewsHour

Jeff Selingo, interviewed in this clip, is the most lucid voice I have found on the question of college admissions. Take note of his comments toward the end about the presumptive “return on investment” of the families who participated in this racket.

Selingo’s book There is Life After College is must-read for educators and parents.


“Turns Out There’s a Proper Way to Buy Your Kid a College Slot,” by the Editorial Board, in the New York Times

“The allegations underscore the urgency many American parents feel about securing a place for their progeny at a selective college. In an era when most Americans are struggling to succeed economically, many of those who have prospered are terrified that their children will not get every opportunity to replicate that success.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

This episode has raised an important and urgent question: what is the purpose of an education (whether K12 or higher ed, whether public or private)?

Is the purpose of your school to replicate and perpetuate privilege and status?

Or is the purpose of your school to diffuse equity and justice?


“They’re Already Rich. Why Were These Parents So Fixated on Elite Colleges?” by Becky Supiano, in the Chronicle of Higher Education

“The ranks of the ‘mundanely privileged’—the doctors, lawyers, accountants, and, yes, professors—make a whole host of life decisions with their children's college options in mind, Calarco said. Parents ‘see their own self worth in terms of their kids' success,’ she said. And they define success in narrow terms: ‘Can you get your kid into Harvard?’ "

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Many people expressed bewilderment as to why the wealthy and privileged would go to such lengths to secure their children admission to top tier schools.

This article explains the psychology behind not only these most extreme examples, but also the significant investment of time, money, and emotional energy into SAT Prep, tutors, extracurriculars, and more.


Question of the week: Is the purpose of your school to replicate and perpetuate privilege and status, or is it to diffuse equity and justice?

Images below come from Tony Ruth in the Design in Tech 2019 report, by John Maeda:


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Christian Talbot