FBI! Open the Door, Mom.
300 FBI agents were involved when early morning arrests were made in some of the wealthiest pockets of high society today. The cause: millions of dollars in bribes, years of deception, and 33 helicopter parents. All this, just in order to get their children into elite universities.
The worth of a college education has been debated endlessly. At one end of the debate, those who see the statistics as undeniable proof: those with a bachelor’s degree earn $630,000 to $900,000 more than those without. At the other end of the debate, those who see the vital (and lucrative) careers held by those who perfect a trade, such as plumbing or car maintenance.
We even devoted an entire episode to the debate in Season 6 of Biz Kid$.
This morning’s news is likely to fuel both sides of the argument with fresh material. Those who see college as the ticket to a successful life will point to the desperate measures as proof that devotion to grades and tests could earn your child the path that others are willing to swindle their way onto. Others will see the criminal behavior as yet another sign that elite schools are out of reach and not what they’re chalked up to be.
The Bigger Picture
We won’t venture a vote here today. Instead, we see a different lesson buried in this morning’s news. Regardless of where you stand on the importance of a college degree, the surreal FBI sting should act as a wakeup call to parents in one category: motives. Perhaps the 33 bribe-swinging parents arrested this morning had nothing but other-centeredness in mind. Perhaps they wanted the best for their kids. Perhaps they saw a quality education as a gift worthy of some compromise.
Or, perhaps they had someone else in mind all along: themselves. Perhaps they had visions of “Yale Mom” bumper stickers on their luxury vehicles. Perhaps they looked forward to one-upping their fellow parents at the country club. As parents, we have to check our own motives. Do we have our child’s best interest at heart?
A Litmus Test
Want to test your motives? Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and many others have opened their classrooms up to the masses with open source, online, free streaming content. The surprising results? Few complete them. Without the official student status or degree, it appears, the education alone is ignored by many. If it’s education you’re after, you may be able to give that a whirl this weekend.