On a broader note, the whole idea of entitlement is also a lot of what was behind that college cheating scandal. I didn’t grow up in an environment where anybody had enough money to think that way – or, frankly, to believe that there was any hope of finding their way to an elite university. Except, some of us did. I mean, I’m the daughter of a refugee and I ended up at MIT. A guy I grew up with was the son of a conductor on the railroad and went to Harvard (and, later on, Columbia Law School). We did have a community ethos that led to relatively high taxes that funded good public schools, with the complexity that my home town was too small to have its own high school and, in retrospect, there was probably some racism involved in the choice of which school we did end up contracting with. An interesting thing about school budgets is that, since our school district had its own, there were years when we got schoolbooks and the kids from the district where the school was located, which had not approved their budget and was on austerity, did not.
But there were also people who went into the military or got apprenticed to trades or took over the family business. And the majority of the ones who went to college went to local schools (including community college) or state schools. Sure, parents would boast about kids who were at more prestigious places, but that just wasn’t the be all and end all of their lives. What a difference 40-something years makes!
Is our culture really that screwed up or is it just the celebrity news mill at work? Can we still think about the good of the community instead of individual greed? Or am I just a hopeless dreamer?
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