Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jared Kushner's Criminal Dad Gave Harvard $2.5 Million To Get Him In. How Did Trump Get Into Wharton After Flunking Out Of Fordham?


Trump's first choice for college was the University of Southern California, where he wanted to study film-making. He was rejected and wound up going to a much easier school to get into, Fordham. But what people have always wondered is how did Trump get into the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance and Commerce in 1966 after he flunked out of Fordham? Trump has often used his Wharton pedigree as a way of defending his ignorance and stupidity. He claimed on Meet The Press that Wharton is "probably the hardest there is to get into... Some of the great business minds in the world have gone to Wharton." One Trump biographer, biographer, Gwenda Blair, wrote in 2001 that Trump was admitted to Wharton as a special favor from a "friendly" admissions officer, a former high school classmate of his older brother, Freddy. For decades there have been vague rumors that money changed hands to get the intellectually lazy and academically anemic Trump into a top school.

A friend of mine was Jared Kushner's high school tutor. This friend told me that he was a very poor student at a Paramus Orthodox yeshiva high school and would have been lucky to be accepted at any decent college. With his subpar GPA and poor SAT scores, an Ivy League school like Harvard was out of the question. And yet... in 1999, there he was at Harvard Yard. His father, crooked real estate developer and Trump crony Charles Kushner, who was sentenced to 2 years in prison on an array of stunning corruption charges, had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard a few months earlier. (His other son, Joshua, was also enrolled at Harvard but I don't know if he's as dumb as Jared.)

There were other kids at his school who were far more qualified but who were rejected that year. The admissions officers were dismayed-- and my friend, the tutor, was sickened.

I didn't go to an Ivy League school. I was accepted at Cornell but the scholarship they offered-- basically tuition-- wasn't enough for me to afford to go there. I went to a state university instead, but the best one in the New York system, and not academically easy to get into. My roommate was one of the dumbest people I ever ever met-- a nice guy, for sure, but I knew within a week he didn't get into the school based on his high school performance. I didn't care; he paid me to write his papers. The A grades on the papers didn't match up with the rest of his work (F grades, not Ds) and he didn't complete the semester. I asked him how he got in and he told me his mom worked for his hometown's school system and she had altered his records. Wow! Over 50 years later and we have a breaking story in the headlines about how college admissions are still rigged for the rich and well-connected.

Yesterday Chuck Todd and his crew noted how the scandal is playing into the Democratic nomination battle, although there was no mention of Joe Biden's well known propensity to cheat on tests and steal other people's work. Instead, Team Todd reported on how the current scandal "underscores the divide between the haves and have-nots" and how it "plays into the hands of the Democratic presidential hopefuls who have made erasing this divide a central message in their campaigns," namely Bernie, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.
Here was Elizabeth Warren in her campaign launch: “Today, millions and millions and millions of American families are … struggling to survive in a system that has been rigged by the wealthy and the well-connected. Hard-working people are up against a small group that holds far too much power, not just in our economy, but also in our democracy.”

Here was Bernie Sanders in his first rally as a 2020 candidate: “We will no longer accept 46 percent of all new income going to the top 1 percent, while millions of Americans are forced to work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive and over half of our people live paycheck to paycheck.”

Here was Kamala Harris in her CNN town hall: “The people of our country, the families of our country, deserve to have leaders who are focused on their needs … as opposed … [to] helping the richest people and the biggest corporations.”

But the story also might play with Trump voters who think college is rigged, although maybe for a different reason-- affirmative action.

The nation is rightfully outraged after yesterday’s news, which exposed 1) how the wealthy have tried to take advantage of the system, and 2) how another American institution (higher education) has let us down.

Get ready for the 2020 candidates to seize on it.
In fact... Elizabeth Warren: "This is just stunning. I mean, the notion that people thought they could keep cheating like this and build this, evidently build this huge cheating network in order for the children of the rich and the powerful to make it into fancy schools. To me, it’s just one more example of how the rich and powerful know how to take care of their own, and everybody else just gets left behind. I think that’s wrong."

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At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Apart from the sports angle to the cheating scandals to get into highly desirable schools, another pathway described was through the Learning Disability route and provision of extensive test accommodations.

As a school psychologist with decades of experience, I am quite dismayed and rather unsure how students were labeled Learning Disabled - which must have taken place through the Committee of Special Education in their respective school districts - as well as how they got such a high level of test accommodations - in some cases 100% extended time with an individual proctor. I would love to know how this occurred and see specific examples.

Where I worked over my career, at a highly ethical school district with highly ethical professionals, the Committee on Special Education would not have rubber stamped classification of a student as LD. Reasonable documentation was required, especially if a student were initially brought before the CSE to determine classification late in high school. Such CSE meetings do happen - typically the referral is made by the parents for the specific purpose of test accommodations for their children for the SATS, although of course they would not necessarily admit this. LD does not develop overnight and academic history is important. Low or mediocre grades do not necessarily indicate LD. Also, the CSE would be hesitant to accept the recommendation of LD based on a report from a private licensed psychologist who evaluated the student (paid by the parents) without district specialists providing back up data. I wonder whether some school psychologists and/or the CSE were bribed? I strongly doubt that was a route that was followed. Too many people involved. The CSE in every district must follow federal guidelines and there is a chairperson and a variety of professionals on the committee - it is not just one person's opinion.

To be given 100% extended time with a 1-1 proctor would only be recommended by the CSE in rare cases. This should not be given away lightly. Significant disabilities requiring such extensive accommodations do not show up all of a sudden in one's junior or senior year. I find it hard to believe a CSE would recommend such extreme accommodations for a newly classified high school student and certainly without documentation of serious disabilities and an extensive school history of such. It is unlikely a student would qualify for such significant accommodations if initially classified as LD later in high school.

However, I may be jaded and naive: perhaps various CSEs are lax about classification and accommodations and acquiesce to parents' pressure, especially those who are rich and powerful and threatening. It is much easier to give in than deal with threatened law suits.

Furthermore, the Educational Testing Service, which must approve all test accommodations for the SATS for particular students, has become quite strict about allowing extended time (given its abuse, evident over the years) and has sometimes turned it down for some students despite school districts' CSE data. I do not believe accommodations would be given by the ETS without the school district's provision of data based on federal law, such as a formal Individual Education Plan or 504 Plan. Private reports alone (by biased and well paid professionals) would not be acceptable to the ETS. How was an end run done around this?

So---how the hell did some rich students get these accommodations? I would love to know!

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To me, it’s just one more example of how the rich and powerful know how to take care of their own, and everybody else just gets left behind."

It's not just that we get left behind, Liz. It's that we get stuck paying the bills for the mistakes these cheaters and liars commit when they get taken into the corridors of power and privilege.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Oh yawn. Did you really just find out that rich and famous people get extra privileges? Chelsea Clinton getting into Stanford and then getting a half-million dollar a year contract at NBC for part-time work seemed normal to you? Malia Obama getting into Harvard was totally on merit huh?

One of us is terribly naïve and it isn't me.

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone is naïve too, evidently.

so a congenital moron, W, gets into yale (via another path than open bribery -- "legacy"). He was rejected by UT law (kudos. A TX entity that isn't totally shit) so he went to... Harvard. Not only that, he gadgeated! I wonder how much daddy paid for the admission and how much he paid for papers and tests.

This, the rich buying their way into institutions because they couldn't earn it, is nothing new. W preceded me in college only by a few years. about the same time as trump.

When I started college (physics), there were a small cadre of Saudi men who were granted admission... somehow. I got there via a 4.0 in HS and a near perfect SAT. I transferred a 4.0 in math from CC too. The Saudis were there to chase blonde coeds and were gone by the middle of sophomore year -- different majors or flunked out. I'm sure the prince bought them admission to a prestigious ivy league sheepskin mill for their post-grads too.

Listen to "Fortunate Son" by Credence Clearwater Revival from the '60s. The rich bought their kids unmerited spots in schools and also bought them OUT of the viet nam draft and war.

Wasn't around for Korea, but I assume it was much the same even then.

I suppose it's a big deal now because it's Hollywood types and they all hate trump but trump has the DOJ on his side now.

if they put the actresses in prison, then they need to put the bushes (oh yeah, they're dead), trumps and kushners in prison too.

But they won't. So... it won't be justice. It'll be political prosecutions.

still think this shithole is a democracy?


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