A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/10/meritocracy-r-us.html


These are premium mediocre white dudes. Not Costco discount white dudes.


All of which makes the recent college admission bribery scam even more incredible. No amount of unfair advantage is enough for some people.


Whoa, are you sneaking in a diss on Costco? Rethink, I beg, they are completely legit.


if the mony comes in the front door we have to come out the back door

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One of my favorite lines from Dear White People (the TV series) was the main character’s description of a bigoted blond woman as a “Kirkland Signature Ann Coulter”. :grin:


Economy Plus


It’s mayonnaise all the way down.


This PC liberal bullshit is infuriating. White men are the real victims in our society, and I’m tired of them always being under attack by these ivy tower elitists. /s

Seriously this is just same shit different day. Of course colleges favor wealthy, private schooled, white boys. Afterall that’s who they were built for


For anybody who thinks America and Canada are really very similar, here’s another area: education. Canada basically doesn’t have really good and bad school districts. If my parents had moved anywhere in Calgary - or in Alberta, for that matter, rural or big-city - I would have gotten the same K-12 education. Our property-tax money is all handed over to the Province, which spreads it around pretty evenly. But also the Feds have “transfer payments” from richer to poorer provinces, so that I could have been moved nearly anywhere in Canada: the low-income Maritimes have about the same schooling as richest-province Alberta.

Then there’s college: nearly all our colleges are about like your better State schools, except maybe for U of T and McGill are a cut above. I took engineering, and later computer science, so all of this “make contacts” stuff means nothing to me. I never got a job from “contacts” just from my marks. The notion that you get a better education in chemistry and physics because a Nobel Prize winner teaches you elementary basics, instead of a grad student with an accent, just baffles me; I learned most of it from the books when their accents were too thick.

It wasn’t a special college that got me a great career; it was taking a second degree, and just a second bachelor’s at that. That didn’t give me a great job - it let me turn that job into a great job by adding more and more IT improvements to an engineering system.

It’s nuts for almost anybody to waste so much time and money on this stuff, which reads more like social-climbing than education. Just go for the education.

But hey: other than health care, education, immigration, financial regulation, and the military, where we are almost diametrically opposite in philosophy, Canada and America are really similar.


Thanks for saving someone the keystrokes, excluding the /s tag. “That guy” (and it’s always a guy) inevitably shows up in affirmative action topics here.



Except “First Nations”, maybe.


Thats fine, except the workplace is certainly not about education and know how - if you thought academia was social-climbing, the workplace is so x10.


Meritocracy is a myth in Canada, just as much as it is in the States. White male privilege still exists here and despite having some of the trappings of a socialist state, there are still many structural barriers in this country.

You see, I too grew up in Alberta, but then I moved to the maritimes (against the flow of humanity in this country). I can say with authority that the schools here are NOT as well resourced as those in Alberta, despite the transfer payments. Now that I have kids of my own, I see the disparity in outside fundraising between children whose schools reside in wealthier catchments, and those where the community is comprised largely of Indigenous people, recent immigrants and low-income backgrounds.

Can you really know that for sure? Your success is 100% due to you?

Instead of talking about the problem, they make the discussion about them. Nobody is questioning that you personally are smart or a hard worker, so why go out of your way?

I’m not really sure what you mean by this - is it a backhanded jab at instructors for whom English is not a first language (i.e. clearly they won’t win Nobels and one can just figure it out from a book anyway?). Are you implying that we don’t even need professors, in which case what are all the minorities complaining about - they could just buy the textbooks!

I get what you are trying to say - that Canada’s minimally socialized post-secondary education system eliminates admissions bribery (I’m not even sure that is true). But we are far off eliminating the other structural problems that exist.


That’s why Jordan’s Principle was created (and Canada has failed to implement)


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Yes, all public schools receive about the same amount from the province, but it’s more complicated than that. The schools in wealthier neighbourhoods have parents who fundraise for extra clubs, participate and volunteer for extra activities. And the schools in poorer neighbourhoods are dealing with kids whose families don’t have enough money to pay for food (they come to school hungry). This sort of stuff makes a difference.

It’s still a better situation than the US, but it’s far from perfect.


Between being a student and working at universities,I spent almost 14 years hanging around a variety of Canadian university campuses. My experience was that, at least for undergraduate classes, the prestige of a professor had no bearing on the quality of the student experience. In many cases, part-time instructors were much better teachers than tenured professors because they wanted to teach. Many (but not all, of course) of the tenured profs saw research as their true calling - teaching undergraduate classes was just this annoying side gig the university made them do to get a paycheck and they treated it as such.