Quote of the Day:

The kids pick up through cues the family ethos: The purpose of an education is to look good. When—this is old-fashioned, but let’s say it anyway—the purpose of an education is to enrich a mind, to help the young discover great thought, to teach history and science, to spur a sense of purpose and vocation.

–Peggy Noonan this morning in the Wall Street Journal

Peggy Noonan proposes in a must-read column that the college entrance scandal shows that top colleges are now seen as status symbols rather than institutions of learning.

In another must-read Heather Mac Donald argues that the scandal has less to do with the rich people who cheated to get their kids into fancy colleges than the university system itself.

She writes:

None of this could have happened if higher education had not itself become a corrupt institution, featuring low classroom demands, no core knowledge acquisition, low grading standards, fashionable (but society-destroying) left-wing activism, luxury-hotel amenities, endless partying, and huge expense.

Students often learn virtually nothing during their college years, as University of California, Irvine, education school dean Richard Arum writes in Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.

They may even lose that pittance of knowledge with which they entered college. Seniors at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Berkeley scored lower in an undemanding test of American history than they did as freshmen, according to a 2007 study commissioned by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

College is only desultorily about knowledge acquisition, at least outside of the STEM fields (and even those fields are under assault from identity politics).  

There has been a lot of talk about how the scandal shows that the college admissions system is rigged in favor of the rich. It really doesn't. After all, these rich people were not assured of places at top colleges and universities–that is why they cheated.

I'm sure that some might argue that the system is rigged because not everybody can afford to cheat!

The scandal does show a large class of corrupt rich people, and also perhaps insecure rich people. These are wildly rich parents who apparently would not be content with whatever school their darlings could legitimately enter.  The needed certification.

And credentialing, not education, seems to be the function in the eyes of too many parents of the modern American university.

Read Heather's column to see why more racial preferences are not the answer.