By Professor Doom
Admin: “The Landry school is sending many of its students to Harvard this year. Why can’t you?”
--I’ve a friend who teaches in Louisiana, where the Landry school is located. He would get constantly told of how great this school is.
T. M. Landry is in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a high-poverty town of fewer than 10,000. The school’s graduates are overwhelmingly black, poor, or both—a socioeconomic segment that, due to pervasive discrimination, is notoriously underrepresented in higher ed. Statistically speaking, when a poor black student is admitted to a Harvard or a Yale, it’s a minor miracle. The odds of an institution sending graduate after graduate to the Ivy League and similar schools are infinitesimal. Watching T. M. Landry’s viral videos was akin to watching lightning strike the same spot not twice, but over and over again. Had the Landrys cracked the educational code?
--Emphasis added, and citation needed, though the article gives none. Of course.
The T.M. Landy College Preparatory School has been famous for years. This school seemed to specialize in taking poor kids of minimal academic ability and, in just a few years, send them off to the most elite schools in the country.
Admin: “Why can’t you have the same the level of success as Landry? We have much better students here. Is it because you’re not as good a teacher?”
--I can’t emphasize strongly enough how irritating it was to get these kind of missives; I received something similar at a CC.
The Landry school was wildly successful, and nobody thought it strange how they could consistently do so well with so little.
TM Landry boasts a 100% graduation average and a 100% 4-yr. college acceptance rate!
The school was a fraud. A recent article in The Atlantic identifies the school as a fraud, but then goes on to ask, but not answer, an important question: how did these fake students succeed once they came to a school like Harvard?
Let’s spell out the fraud here:
The Landrys’ school seems to have been a fraud all along—faking transcripts, forcing students to lie on college applications, and staging rehearsed lessons for curious media and other visitors. According to the Times, an atmosphere of abuse and submission helped maintain the deception, with Michael Landry lording over his flock of children like a tyrant. In the Times story, Landry admitted to helping children with college applications while denying any fraud.
Any school without integrity can get a 100% graduation rate, after all. But how are these kids succeeding at the elite schools?
Still, a mystery remains. Even taking the alleged fakery into account, how did T. M. Landry seem to fool so many of America’s most prestigious universities for years?
The article details more of the obvious fraud at the school, and asks questions like the above several times. It never answers the main question, however, and it’s a fair question. Since the school did little educating of students, and the students coming in had little education to begin with…how did our elite universities not notice these students, who quite possibly were barely literate at best, really weren’t up to the presumably high standards at these schools?
Admissions officers are vague about who they let in, and it’s been known for years that it’s unwritten policy they use affirmative action to make sure “the right people” get in. Asians have to score much higher than other ethnicities, for example, to get accepted, or so a recent lawsuit affirms (as an unwritten policy, proving such in court might be tough).
On the other hand, David Hogg, the kid the media foisted on us after that weird shooting in Broward County, was recently let into Harvard despite his respectable, but low for Harvard, SAT score. Any Asian student with such a low score who is at Harvard is welcome to contact me to show me how wrong I am about that unwritten policy…
So how are these quite possibly illiterate students doing well at elite schools? The school’s first graduating class was in 2013…we should be seeing some college graduates by now. How are they doing? What were their majors?
The second question is the key, and allow me to conjecture how marginal students could still do well at an elite school.
See, many schools, even quality schools, have a “two tier” system of education. Yes, if you want a quality education instilling value, you can get it at the school…but if you want a bogus education, you can get that, too. It’s up to the student to figure it out, although certainly an advisor at the school, after dealing with the student, could well steer the student into a real education, or a fake education.
I strongly suspect these Landry school fake students aren’t going to Harvard to get their law degrees, or to Princeton to get degrees in mathematics. No, they’re getting degrees in Gender Studies, or African-American Studies, or something where their gender or skin color, and not the content of their learning, is determining their success.
Please understand, I’ve highlighted Gender Studies courses…you don’t need to know much to do well there, just don’t shave. It’s all ideology and anger, and you don’t need to be academically gifted to do well with that. Harvard totally has such programs, so my conjecture is hardly a stretch.
Even our elite schools, apparently, are selling fake degrees, or at least giving fake courses to fake students.
Thus it is that a fake college prep school can operate for years, provided its students are the right skin color, as such a color can get a student into an elite school which is just as eager to show their “success” by awarding degrees to students who after graduation probably still can’t perform at the high school level. Granted, many college graduates are no better off than when they graduated high school, as is well documented, but in this case the fraud was so blatant we really need to start asking questions.
At least I, unlike the author at The Atlantic, can answer some of those questions.