A huge cheating ring was busted two days ago by the Federal Authorities in what is being called the biggest College Admissions Scam to ever be prosecuted. The ones caught cheating were not students, no, they were indeed the rich parents who are accused of bribing over $25 million to different to different coaches, proctors, and through college donations. If this is not bad enough, through the investigation, it is being found out that parents were telling their kids to lie so they could recieve disability benefits for testing purposes.
As someone who has had a very rough time in school with my anxiety, this appalls me! I had to go through years of having a 504 plan, before being deemed elegible enough to even be tested for an I.E.P. This was all for school online, mind you. My anxiety creates a learning disability for me, because when there is a time limit, I freeze. All of my knowledge flys out the window and I am helpless. I needed a disabilty accomodation to give me extra time, the ability to only have to complete one class at a time, and to not have a time line for my classes.
The hardest part about seeing news stories like this is that it further propogates the idea that disability is not a real thing. It shows that “anyone” can fake it, so everyone must be, right? For example, “Gordon Caplan was accused of paying $75,000 to get a test supervisor to correct the answers on her daughter’s ACT exam after she took it. In a conversation last June with a cooperating witness, he was told his daughter needed to ‘‘be stupid’’ when a psychologist evaluated her for learning disabilities, according to court papers” (Associated-Press). How horrible is this? Not only are those with disabilities shown as fakers, but that having a disability is stupid.
This entire scandal brings to light how others are taking advantage of the rights given only to those who need it. In a 2000 California state auditor study, it was found that a higher percentage of disability accomodations were given to those who were white, wealthy, and went to a private school. Unfortunately, this is a common practice as stated by David Benjamin Gruenbaum. He runs Ahead of the Class, a California-based test-prep company, and said, “this week’s indictments didn’t surprise him because he has seen so many abuses of learning-disability diagnoses. It doesn’t take an illegal bribe to get such a diagnosis, “But the system is dominated by wealthy families who take advantage of this”(Inside Higher Ed).
This recent scandal has re-incited fear among those with disabilities (myself included), specifically for the validity of their college aplications. Flagging college applications because of disability accomodations, was a common practice until it was banned in 2002. It made universities see the application as unequal to the rest and resulted in them being rejected. Students with true disabilities ended up having a harder time making it into college because of it. Disability advocacy groups are fearful that flagging applications will come back, negating all the progress done to gain rights for these individuals.
This entire scandal reflects the views about disability that are saddly still there. With all the progress that has been made in recent years to further remove the stigma of disability, I believe this eliminates a lot of that work. However, I also believe that those with true disabilities will continue to prove and to make a headway for themselves and others, despite this. Nobody knows the ramifications that this will have on the disability community, but I know that we will continue to fight and will continue to take one step forward at a time. My hope is that in the future, this scandal will be looked at as how we view the Civil Rights Movement today. There are obstacles in our way, but we as a community, will strive forward to make things better for those in future generations.
What are your thoughts on this article? Have you been personally affected by this? Let me know in the comments. Please subscribe for more great content and I’ll see you next time!
Associated-Press. “Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Charged in College Admissions Bribery Case.” Boston.com, The Boston Globe, 12 Mar. 2019, http://www.boston.com/news/education/2019/03/12/felicity-huffman-lori-loughlin-college-admissions-bribery-case.
Katersky, Aaron, et al. “Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin among Those Charged in Nationwide College Admissions Cheating Scam.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 12 Mar. 2019, abcnews.go.com/US/hollywood-actors-ceos-charged-nationwide-college-admissions-cheating/story?id=61627873.
Lombardo, Clare. “Why The College Admissions Scandal Hurts Students With Disabilities.” NPR, NPR, 14 Mar. 2019, http://www.npr.org/2019/03/14/703006521/why-the-college-admissions-scandal-hurts-students-with-disabilities.
“Inside Higher Ed.” Advocates for Students with Learning Disabilities Fear Impact of Admissions Scandal, http://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/03/14/advocates-students-learning-disabilities-fear-impact-admissions.
Jaschik, Scott. “How the Admissions Scandal Could Hurt Students with Learning Disabilities.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 14 Mar. 2019, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/how-the-admissions-scandal-could-hurt-students-with-learning-disabilities.