When Push Comes to Shove, Elite Colleges Don’t Care About the “Plebs”

by | Sep 5, 2023 | Fixing Education

Admissions scandals reveal what regular Americans know: Our elite institutions want the biggest pocket-books, not the best and brightest, in their classrooms.

For decades, America’s elite colleges have marketed a simple but powerful brand: We help students build a foundation for their future.

This foundation was built upon the connections between our nation’s elites—just as in any community, people try to help each other out—and the (sometimes true) idea that elite schools provide a better education. It was furthered by the schools’ deep dive into “alphabet” ideology, claiming that supporting affirmative action, DEI, and LGBT would help individuals in allegedly disadvantaged groups break through barriers.

But news that the University of Chicago paid $13.5 million to settle allegations that it fixed the game against poor students is the latest reason to throw this reputation out the window. Those allegations were also leveled against 15 other elite schools, some for policies going back more than 20 years.

Once again, “elite” schools—all of them nonprofit institutions that are supposed to act as charities, not profit-generating businesses—are using left-wing window-dressing to hide the simple fact that they love discrimination.

Hypocrisy on Display

You learn a lot about what people and institutions are really like when digging a layer or two below the surface. Democrats say they favor public schools—except when their kids are going to elite high schools. Many Republican politicians are pro-life until Roe v. Wade was overturned… and then they scrambled to hide when the baby-killer industry accused them of hating women. And both parties hate big debt when the other party’s in power, yet shovel inflationary dollars to their preferred constituencies when they control the purse.

The elite schools are no different. It looked good to support politically convenient constituencies getting into top schools—at least to bureaucrats who control the federal education purse, the media that is in lockstep with alphabet ideology, and the academics who have never worked outside of a classroom or lab.

But it’s been obvious to the educated observer that a lot of that was just window dressing. These schools have no problem building a moat to keep plebs, conservatives, and non-“alphabet people” out.

Catering to the Rich

The average American’s first glimpse at the truth behind elite schools’ narrative of diversity and opportunity was when the story of Operation Varsity Blues broke in 2019.

More than 50 people were convicted in a widespread scheme where the very wealthy paid hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece to get their undeserving kids into schools, not for the education or opportunity—but for the ego boost that came along with having Yale and Georgetown on their resume.

Now, we have the first of what will likely be many settlements – none of which are likely to admit guilt, but all of which look suspiciously like efforts to keep the facts behind closed legal doors.

Paul Revere is the pseudonym of a conservative writer.