By Sarai S.,7th Grade, Krieger Schechter Day School of Chizuk Amuno Congregation 

The recent college admissions scandals were no minor crime. Millions of dollars from the country’s most wealthy and famous went to cheating their way into Ivy League schools. Instead of helping their children work hard for success, they snow-plowed their way through obstacles to push their children to the top, but at what cost? Bribes, cheats, and lies all have their consequences, and both the parents and the universities are facing the aftermath. 

Erica Allen, a Judaics teacher at Krieger Schechter Day School thinks the reason for cheating was because “they definitely wanted to raise their children’s chances of getting into at a well-known university because it feeds the parents’ reputations.” Reputation and status definitely fuel rich people’s egos, but it does not excuse the crime. 

According to Jacob B., a seventh-grade student at KSDS, “It’s just awful to get into college because of your wealth; you should get in by doing your work. It’s not right to use your money for test scores and bribes. A lot of people don’t even have that kind of money, and a lot of people can’t even afford to go to college.”

Jacob makes a valid point. The wealthiest 1 percent has been pushing and paying their way to success for years, while the middle class has been steadily climbing to success through hard work. Additionally, many in the lower classes whohave not received a quality education, can’t even think about or afford college.  

With the disappointment and horror of this scandal, there is a silver lining. The discovery that bribing and cheating have been going on for years helped expose the educational system. 

Our American educational system sadly is failing. An educational system where people can cheat and pay their way to the top is problematic, but that is not the only issue with this system. Students who cannot afford or don’t have access to good or private education, attend underfunded public schools. Public schools do not have the funding that they did a couple of years ago. States have been lowering the amount of funding for K-12 schools, which is leading several of our country’s schools to close. So where do those students go? The answer is: to the next closest public school in their area, which leads to overcrowding, less engagement, and a lower quality education. 

With less engagement and focus in schools, more students are likely to drop out or not acquire the knowledge they need. But that that is not the only reason people are not getting educated. In lower-income areas, schools are not likely to improve or find ways to get enough money to pay teachers or purchase textbooks and supplies. This leaves kids to fall behind in the education system, limiting their chances to attend college and leaving them stuck in the cycle of poverty with no escape.

It is depressing to know that our country does not know what to do with high school dropouts and poorly-educated people. Instead of helping, higher class and educated people blame the uneducated for not securing a good paying job, not being able to support their families, and not being able to live a good and nurturing life. 

We could help the failing educational system if it was not for our corrupt government. President Donald Trump decided that the secretary of education should be Betsy DeVos, an unqualified person with no experience in public education. She believes in catering to charter and private schools while taking away resources from public schools. 

The Trump administration is completely irresponsible. This year’s education budgeting proposal is worse than ever. Trump wants to cut programs that cater to students and their families, as well as make them pay for the administration’s misguided policy goals, which include cuts to the education programs that schools offer. The money in the educational budget is slowly draining, which affects teachers’ salaries, school conditions, materials, and other needed resources.

I would consider education to be the foundation of our country. Without a well-supported foundation, there will be a lack of jobs for the uneducated and lower classes, making it harder to earn a living. Without a reasonable education, it is hard to get a stable job to support yourself. So you end up with minimum wage pay, which is not enough to pay for bills, rent, food, etc., let alone support an entire family. 

Is this the society in which we live? A society in which we can cheat and bribe away challenges? A society where money gets you to the top? A society where status and reputation make the person?

I believe that your reputation should be built on your own achievements and hard work, not by your family or class. I believe that education should be available to all who need and want it.

But that future seems far away. The mess the Trump administration created will take decades to undo and fix. The educational system will continuously face problems, and we must refocus and realize the importance and value of education for all. In the long run, it will improve us as a whole.