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TM Landry College Prep Scandal

My thoughts on the New York Times expose about the Louisiana high school famous for viral college acceptance videos

TM+Landry%27s+now-infamous+crest+outside+of+the+school%2C+a+ware+house-esque+building+in+suburban+Louisiana
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TM Landry College Prep Scandal

TM Landry's now-infamous crest outside of the school, a ware house-esque building in suburban Louisiana

TM Landry's now-infamous crest outside of the school, a ware house-esque building in suburban Louisiana

TM Landry's now-infamous crest outside of the school, a ware house-esque building in suburban Louisiana

TM Landry's now-infamous crest outside of the school, a ware house-esque building in suburban Louisiana

You’ve probably seen the viral, heart-warming videos of students surrounded by their family, peers, and teachers, opening acceptance notifications from the best colleges in the country. Those videos have millions of views because everyone loves to see when a hardworking, dedicated student’s dream comes true and they get into their dream college. Unfortunately, according to the NY Times expose posted late last month, those viral videos spread by Louisiana college prep school TM Landry were hiding a heartbreaking truth.

TM Landry, a small, private high school in suburban Louisiana was founded by couple Michael and Tracey Landry and has gotten tons up press over the past couple years for not only it’s 100% college acceptance rate, but for getting so many of it’s underprivileged, minority students into schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. — and recording those acceptance moments. Two of those students were even on The Ellen Show. A closer look into TM Landry quickly revealed that their “alternative” teaching methods were, in fact, too good to be true.

Last month, Erice L. Green and Katie Benner of NY Times gathered stories from 46 people connected to the school, including current and former students, parents, former teachers, and law enforcement. They found that TM Landry had falsified students’ transcripts, adding academically rigorous courses that students had never taken along with high grades they had never earned. The Landry’s had also forced students to lie about their achievements, add fake extracurriculars, and lie throughout their college applications about adversity they’d faced, such as making up having abusive or drug-addicted parents. The magnitude of these confounding lie

The Landry’s had also forced students to lie about their achievements, add fake extracurriculars, and lie throughout their college applications ”

s speaks for itself. We all know how decisive essays, extracurriculars, and transcript records are to college admissions counselors.

Beyond forcing students to submit fraudulent applications in order to guarantee acceptance into top institutions, TM Landry has deprived it’s students of any sort of education: there are few if any qualified teachers, students often just “teach themselves” from college textbooks, and almost all instruction time is spent fixating on standardized test prep for the ACT and SAT.

As one would expect, Many TM Landry graduates are struggling and even having to drop out of the top schools that their forged applications got them into. It’s absolutely devastating how TM Landry has taken advantage of students because they knew how irresistible their circumstances would be to “diversity-hungry” top schools.

Honestly, this entire scandal has caused me to lose a lot of respect for many elite institutions because this kind of crazy, destructive scenario is generated directly from their uber-competitiveness. So who’s fault is it that all of these kids were gypped a high school education and forced into a fraudulent future? Yours. And mine. And literally everyone else, because whether we mean to or not, we inevitably idealize exclusive schools.

I am eagerly anticipating statements from Michael and Tracey Landry, as well as news about what kind of legal action will be taken as a result of their behavior. Read the Times’ expose here.

 

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