Students during assignments.
The late, brilliant comedian Joan Rivers’ favourite catchphrase was “Grow up!” It was said in jest, but meant in earnest to wake her shocked audiences from their stupor long enough to realise that her comedic targets were doing horrible things all the time.
It is in this same spirit that I urge the nation to “Grow up!” in its understanding of the university admissions process. The incredulity expressed upon the “discovery” that television stars Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and other high-powered principals conspired to fraudulently get their children and others entrance into elite colleges and universities is itself incredible.
While the individual criminality of the particular perpetrators — both applicants and school officials — is somewhat surprising, the academy, despite its claims of devotion to Lady Justice style blindness, has never been very meritocratic in its admissions practices.
The god-term in universities today is “diversity” — a goal articulated ostensibly to rectify past discrimination committed, in part, against groups, mostly minorities, who couldn’t gain fair admission to higher education in the past. But the policies only selectively redress such unfair and unequal treatment: Jewish, Catholic and other disfavored applicants for most of the history of higher education were either not admitted to major universities or were limited by a quota system, but there are few compensatory initiatives at colleges and universities intended to redress those actions.
In fact, Harvard University’s infamous race-conscious admissions policy has literally gone on trial. In the words of The Chronicle of Higher Education, “The case, brought by a nonprofit group called Students for Fair Admissions Inc. ... claims the university discriminates against Asian-American applicants by limiting the number of those students it admits.”
Admission departments, often with little or no oversight within schools of higher education, arbitrarily establish priorities for small or large percentages of those they admit, including — in addition to varying weightings of grades and SAT and/or ACT scores and class rankings — such largely immeasurable factors as letters of recommendation, the reputation of your high school, your writing ability in essays, your outside interests, etc. Applying to an admissions officer who was a wrestler? You might be advantaged if you wrestle in high school.
The well-regarded College Board, on its website, states well the random array of entrance criteria in admissions policies around the country: “Geographic location, racial or ethnic background, extenuating or unusual life circumstances and experience living or studying overseas may all be influential.”
Dubai has notched up another record in its impressive lineup of sterling achievements. Its unemployment rate reached 0.5 per cent last year, according to the Labour Force Survey 2018 published by the Dubai Statistics Centre. Arif Al Mehairi, Executive Director of Dubai Statistics Centre, said
Donald Trump’s national security chief John Bolton is an equal opportunity warmonger. If he had his way, the US would be at war with North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Iran — all at once. He supports a policy of exerting “maximum pressure” against these countries with the aim of achieving regime change,
Parliament’s inability to agree a withdrawal deal meant the UK did not leave the EU on 29 March. Theresa May’s government confirmed a new target date of 31 October with Brussels. This gives fresh hope to those wanting Brexit softened, if not cancelled, as progress remains stalled.
I often hear people talk about their difficulties in finding a meaningful job or keeping up with increasing healthcare, housing and education costs. These concerns, along with rising income inequality and a shrinking middle class, are provoking anger. For many, trade and immigration have become convenient villains.