Our Pledge To You

Letters to the Editor

Ivory towers have a long history of academic cheating

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: The media is seen outside the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and United States Courthouse on March 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Actors Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli are among 50 people charged in a college admission cheating scheme that involves bribery and fraud in attempts to get students recruited as athletes and help them cheat on exams. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775314616

The news media is seen outside the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and United States Courthouse on March 13 in Los Angeles, California. Actors Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli are among 50 people charged in a college admission cheating scheme that involves bribery and fraud in attempts to get students recruited as athletes and help them cheat on exams. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Anyone shocked to read of today’s Ivy League college cheating scandal hasn’t been paying attention. Beyond admissions bribery, there has been widespread exam cheating and test score manipulation at the University of Virginia in 2001; the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994; the University of Maryland in 2004 and Duke in 2007.

Cheating on tests was news at Harvard in 2012 and Dartmouth in 2015. The record shows grade inflation (usually from parents pressuring or persuading instructors) crept grade averages up from the range of 2.7 to 3.0 in 1950 to highs of 3.3 to 3.7 by 2012 at Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Pennsylvania and Yale.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Amazingly, it seems the elite aura associated with these schools has gone unblemished. Collectively, the offenses suggest many of them may as well simply sell diplomas to the highest bidders. And to think, as the Sun-Times editorial mentions, there have been lawsuits challenging a handful of affirmative action admissions meant to try to correct historical wrongs (“Editorial: Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy and a shameless college admissions scam” — Wednesday).

In all, this track record of cheating at all levels at these vaunted institutions questions and mars their integrity, and puts their degrees under a cloud of suspicion among thinking would-be employers considering hiring their graduates vs. graduates from other less prestigious but rigorous schools untainted by such scandal.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Why the rich don’t want single-payer

Phil Kadner’s column on Wednesday about the predictable condemnation of single-payer health care by billionaires missed calling out the important “why” (“The scary future of health insurance in America” — Tuesday).

Exploiters like Michael Bloomberg and Howard Schultz will say that our nation cannot afford single-payer, but anyone with eyes can see we engage in federal programs we can’t afford all the time. Whether it be endless wars or tax cuts for the rich, when the moneyed interests want something, we always print the cash needed to make it happen.

The real reason why the rich don’t want single-payer insurance is because the current system keeps workers indebted to their employer. This keeps employees subservient and desperate, exactly how the exploiters like it.

Don Anderson, Oak Park