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This seems likely to end up being ugly. For example wealthy people could buy or rent addresses in "adverse" neighborhoods, or charter schools might locate offices there, in order to attempt to improve scores on this metric. At the same time this won't be able to identify many adverse life circumstances like abusive parents, cancer, etc.

What it does do is outsource components of admissions decisions the colleges may want to distance themselves from and wrap it up in an opaque package so that they're not actually considering anything legally risky in their admissions decisions. This is potentially valuable to institutions that want to have affirmative action style admissions without risking the ire of state legislators.




I already talked to my wife about this. I would retire, we would divorce, and I would rent a shitty apartment in East Palo Alto all the while living in our house.

If they think they can boil my kids into a single number without bothering to find the context of who my kids are then I will game it to as much as possible.

I don’t know why my family should be punished because my wife and I worked our asses off to get ahead. It’s an insult to hard working people across the spectrum.


I understand the feeling, but how about if we rephrase it from another viewpoint:

I don’t know why I should be punished because my parents didn’t succeed financially. I work hard in highschool but don’t have extra private tutoring or parents who can help me with calculus homework. I’m hard working and bright but how can I compete with kids from Saratoga High School where everyone’s parents went to MIT/Penn and work at Apple/Google[1]? I read library books and watch Khan Academy, but no one in my family ever went to college. Why does my parents’ achievement have a fundamental impact on my opportunities?

Somehow we have to aim for equality of opportunity. It’s difficult to achieve but can’t we agree on this as a goal? Opportunity should not be inherited. My kids are as good as yours, as the next person’s, independent of how hard we worked.

[1] hyperbole. Saratoga parents from UCLA/CMU who work at Netflix/NVIDIA I’m talking about you too.


I went to Stanford with full financial aid (apparently says something about my financials). I didn’t have to work to support the family, but I didn’t have private tutoring either, and my parents didn’t help me with my homework. I didn’t feel punished at all compared to kids who have everything in the world at their disposal; in fact, knowledge in my brain is about the last thing in the world that’s affected by my family’s socioeconomic status, and standardized testing, with all its problems, is about the fairest thing in this unfair society. Now tell me why you want to ruin the fairest thing by giving kids who have equal access to resources as I did an edge just because their parents earn a few grands less. Oh, while we’re at it, apparently I have above-average intelligence, which largely came from my parents’ DNA; should I be punished for that too?


There are so many online resources and free tutors out their nowadays for high school students, and it is only getting better.

We can't control your upbringing or the opportunities your parents give you completely though. People think the material opportunities given by parents is not fair, but think that the emotional or social opportunities of parents is. If my parents were emotionally abusive, but I grew up rich, should they rig the SAT to show that? How would they even measure that?

In a perfect world outcomes would only be determined by genetics, and the environmental factors would not play into life at all. We don't live in that world, and it would be impossible to replicate it. There are too many variables to be able to measure who deserves what beyond a merit based system.

Look at it another way, would it be fair for a high school/ college sport to artificially raise and lower rankings based on upbringing or environment? Should players with significant coaching be lowered in the rankings, and poor players be raised? I don't think so.


> Why does my parents’ achievement have a fundamental impact on my opportunities?

Because they are your parents and they will have an impact on your life whether you like it or not, right down from the genes you inherit to the kind of people you hang out with. So yes there achievement will have an impact on your opportunities.

What you want can only happen when parents are no longer associated with their children in any way and all children are raised by the State so that everyone can be provided "equal opportunities" and even then the type of genes you inherit will impact your opportunities because although social inequality has been removed, biological inequalities can never be removed.

So no your children or not equal to anybody else's children and yes what you do in life will have an impact on your children's life that's how life works.


We decide how life works, between us. You want the kids of rich people to win the next generation unquestioned? I think we can do better.


> You want the kids of rich people to win the next generation unquestioned?

I am not the person you were replying to, but no. However, the person who wins should be the more qualified person based on merit not based on some standard of suffering. Just because you had a harder environment does not mean you are more qualified than someone with an easier environment.


I agree completely. But there should be some heterogeneity available in the routes to success. Not all bright kids are ready and trained for the SATs. I was not and luckily I found another route in 1990s England. I’m trying to keep some alternate routes open.


What do you mean by merit? Ability? Capacity? Effort? Worthiness? Ability at what? Are the SATs a good measure of that?


Probably the best/ most ubiquitous method we have right now.

It would be trivial to improve our tests of merit compared to the almost impossible task of testing how well a student would do free from environmental factors.


> However, the person who wins should be the more qualified person based on merit

This has never been the case and will never be the case as long as some people are rich and other are poor. A "standard of suffering" tries to show that. Maybe it's a bad idea, but the current system is extremely bad, so people who dismiss this better come up with a better alternative.


This concept equal opportunities by separating children from their parents is something that Plato explored quite a lot with the concept of the guardians, with some rather absurd suggestions which was likely given as both a commentary on the problem and criticism of the aristocratic society. If I remember right this is a central theme in Utopia.

Philip K dick also had a short story called Progeny with a similar theme, but here exploring it from the perspective of psychology.


>What you want can only happen when parents are no longer associated with their children in any way and all children are raised by the State so that everyone can be provided "equal opportunities" and even then the type of genes you inherit will impact your opportunities because although social inequality has been removed, biological inequalities can never be removed.

This is one of the weariest types of hyperbolic strawmanning typically employed in discussions of unequal backgrounds, opportunities, etc.

Literally nobody wishes for this imaginary future you're presenting. Not the comment you're responding to, likely not even the staunchest of activists against social injustice.

The question is, do we see children with potential not being able to utilize it because of happenstance, as a problem? Is it fair that a child from a better-off family is more likely to enter better academic institutions regardless of their merit? Should we not help disadvantaged kids?

Of course you can throw your arms up into the air and say "life isn't fair", and hold people responsible for the situation they were born into - but right now we're having this discussion, and we can make decisions and change these things. What if there's a better way?

(PS: Standardized Adveristy Scores don't exactly sound like the better way though.)


> Is it fair that a child from a better-off family is more likely to enter better academic institutions regardless of their merit?

At the point of admission, the merits of our two imaginary college kids are not same, even if they started out "the same". The current system, that only looks at objective test scores, is actually blind to anything but merit. You seem to be making the same strawman mistake you described: No one claims that rich kids can buy their way into elite schools, but rather that they can buy better education along the way.


By the time you hit the SAT it's too late. If you aren't qualified enough to do well on the SAT then, you are going to struggle and hold classmates back more-so than the peer you displaced would have.

Offer free additional after-school programs, etc in high school to solve the problem. You don't make a slow runner faster by moving the finish line closer for him/her.


> By the time you hit the SAT it's too late.

We should maintain some real alternate paths for kids for whom this timing is bad.

I grew up on on welfare and left school at 15. Was smart but troubled. Worked dumb jobs for a while. Benefitted from enlightened admissions policy and eventually graduated from $VERYGOODSCHOOL. I worked hard and did just fine. My kids are privileged and my late career is fun and rewarding. I want to do all I can to pass on these opportunities to the next generation of kids like me.


I disagree on this as a goal. Some things take generations: my great-grandparents had a good standing back in pre-war Europe. Then the war came and my grandparents escaped to South America - not great. My parents got up to high school level education. I got a B.Sc. Maybe my kid will go farther.

Play with the cards you were dealt.


In your stance, let’s hope you don’t have some bad luck with your circumstances or health, and your kids drop back a couple generations.

In my stance, your kids can get ahead on their own merit.

I don’t know how to achieve this perfectly, but it’s an aspiration.


The underlying problem is that we're trying to ration something that shouldn't be this scarce.

If everybody wants to go to Harvard then why can't they expand the school and accept more students?

Because the same brand of metrics trolls who are screwing this up have also screwed up in the school rankings by making schools rank better if they reject more applicants, so now the schools optimize for that.


> If everybody wants to go to Harvard then why can't they expand the school

Well, you can only physically expand a single school so far, but I get what you mean. I think the bigger problem is this concept of “elite universities” and this sort of credential signaling that seems to matter so much. Honestly, I can’t tell how much it really does matter. I went to Valdosta State University (never heard of it? Nope, neither has anybody else), but have worked with Harvard and MIT grads who respected my opinion and treated me as an equal. My 15 year old son, who I’ve never really pushed too hard to worry about getting into a “good” college worries about it anyway, because everybody he knows is worrying about it. He says things like, “If I don’t do well on this test, I’m going to end up going to Texas Tech” and I think, “Hell, Texas Tech is better than where I went to college, and I’m doing fine… should I tell him not to worry so much or encourage him to shoot for the top-ranked colleges?”


This is a good point. I think the their intent here is fine, but it seems like the wrong way to go about opening up more opportunities to people who start with somewhat of a disadvantage.

In any case, I don't think you should have to graduate from a prestigious college to find work that helps you live a good life. Maybe this involves making a place like Harvard accept more students, or maybe it involves improving the quality and our perceptions of middle and lower-tier universities. I don't know.


Keep in mind that given 1000 admission slots and 1000 very smart poor/disadvantaged kids and 1000 average rich kids most institutions will never admit all the 1000 poor/disadvantaged kids (though the absolute smartest and absolute richest will probably have a leg up).

Colleges are gatekeeper institutions that want to identify the worst off person that's still likely to have high success so that they can talk about how great their programs and commitment to diversity are while still mostly admitting wealthy folks and raking in money for their foundations and endowments. And so that they can point to those successes as proof that they're serving a social interest by anecdote, regardless of what the actual numbers on social mobility say.

It's really at level very removed from what you bring up. It's not that you're being punished because your parents are not part of the oligarch class. Rather, the oligarch class wants higher education to be a system that primarily benefits themselves while making it palatable by marketing the whole thing as a societal benefit.

Some colleges have become attuned to the fact that people caught on to this, which is why some elite institutions advertise that they're "need blind," a phrase which is more marketing than reality. They know that they can admit many middle class people and have them turn down "affordable" packages that are actually very draining for financially responsible families. And they know that they can calibrate their admissions to get exactly the amount and quality of disadvantaged students they want to mix with their legacy and elite admits, which will leave the majority of admits upper class and elite ("need blind" might as well be a synonym for "oligarchs are meritorious").

This is the game because elites have succeeded in twisting the system to benefit them. And the game now is to convince the public at large is that they should keep a system created for the oligarchy in place while putting lipstick on it.

If you want to shatter this state of affairs, the #1 thing you can do is start treating elite institutions and their graduates with the social stigma they deserve.

It's also worth keeping in mind that a significant reason this happens is because of admissions decisions revolving around institutional interests rather than societal interests, which means putting admit decisions in the hands of a body that does not represent the institution(s) in question could also be another route towards addressing what you bring up.


Life is not fair, by the time you are six the number of distinct words you have heard varies drastically depending on your parents socio-economic status and education. The answer should be to extend the SAT with an IQ test, those are robust to environmental factors as twin studies have shown. Maybe you can couple that with a subject specific aptitude test. But also there is largely no equality of opportunity, because you never had a chance to change your genetics in the first place.


> But also there is largely no equality of opportunity, because you never had a chance to change your genetics in the first place.

We are probably hundreds of years away from solving all other factors besides genetics, which have an influence on SAT (or whatever equivalent other countries have), so this doesn't seem like a huge problem right now.

We can talk about genetics again when we've fixed everything else.


Truth is, college admissions from Saratoga is a blood bath with so many over qualified, over worked, over stressed kids. If you are the oddball kid in a worse school and worse neighborhood and you're motivated enough to watch Khan Academy you are going stand out and do great, whether you end up at SJSU or Stanford.


Choosing to get a fake divorce so that you can game the system as much as possible isn't punishment; it's probably fraud. You could also choose to relax and let your children enjoy all the other benefits of a great upbringing, and accept that "the children of hardworking parents should be more likely to be admitted" isn't a design goal of the admissions system.


Resisting an abusive and insanely overreaching government system is not 'fraud' morally and it probably won't be one legally.


The SAT is administered by College Board which is an entirely private institution.


The federally & state funded public Universities that will fall over each other to employ adversity scores as a pillar of their academic life, on the other hand... One can attempt to outsource responsibility from a legalistic perspective, but from a moral perspective one can't escape it.


That seems like quite a stretch to rationalize why a private entity making decisions about its internal processes is actually government mandated overreach.


If you don't lie it's not fraud. You can game metrics all you want, you can get divorced for any reason.


You can get married for any reason, but that doesn't stop certain perfectly true and legally valid marriages from being marriage fraud in immigration.


No it’s not fraud in the least. Nothing says I need to be married at all.


You said you're doing all this for the sake of your kids. What do you think they'll learn from you doing this?


If I had to guess, probably that:

1. remote_phone cares deeply about his children

2. in life there are many unjust and immoral systems, and that it's okay to subvert them


Do you think it was okay for Felicity Huffman et al to pay for their children's admission?


They are saying they will get a real divorce but just live together after.


It's not fraud to divorce. People can live whatever way they want. It is merely arbitraging a bad metric.


If this guy is going to insane lengths like this, he is probably gaming the system in other ways anyway.


If the guy is going to insane lengths like this, his kids probably have genuine non-economic adversity.


It could come down to a large scale societal prisoners dilemna. It’s gonna get ugly


You can't commit fraud against a secret metric. If the metric is public and official, then yeah, that's a fraud.


I recently heard of a high earning family that bought a rental/investment property in EPA, then when their kid got into the Tinsley program (school busing from EPA to Palo Alto/Menlo/Portola/Woodside) they decided to move there full time. Their kid now goes to a fancy school and they live in a development in EPA near Facebook HQ. So to all the naysayers, people are already doing crazy stuff like this to help their kids.


Perhaps a side benefit of this crazy score is forced gentrification of all areas until their score falls to 50 /s


Or it will just drive up rents in low-income areas, as wealthy parents rent (but do not live in) apartments in order to game this system.


School zoning is a pretty insanely high-stakes thing, and other parents will absolutely rat them out and provide evidence. Parents have been jailed for using an address they don't live at - https://abcnews.go.com/US/ohio-mom-jailed-sending-kids-schoo...


Sure, that's when you're publicly defrauding a school, and other parents know that you don't really live there. It would be much easier to game this system since you are only reporting your address to the College Board, and no other students/parents would have reason to know that you're not reporting valid information.


> I already talked to my wife about this. I would retire, we would divorce, and I would rent a shitty apartment in East Palo Alto all the while living in our house.

And that's why thet won't reveal the detailed factors, the time windows over which they are evaluated, and their weighting.

> If they think they can boil my kids into a single number without bothering to find the context of who my kids are then I will game it to as much as possible.

They don't. In fact, that seems to be exactly the problem this addresses, since with this the SAT would no longer be boiling kids into a single number, and it would be incorporating more context than the status quo.


Did you read this part of the article?

"The rating will not affect students’ test scores, and will be reported only to college admissions officials as part of a larger package of data on each test taker."

Do what you want, but it doesn't seem like this will be any different from writing about adversity in an application essay. Schools can choose how much they want to weigh the score.


How is giving underprivileged people a leg up "punishing" anyone?

Privileged people need to start recognizing their inherent pre-rigging of the system.

For those in power, equality feels like oppression.


Pre-rigging?

I’ve worked my ass off for nearly 30 years, as has my wife. We are both smart and very hard working and it paid off. My roots are middle class at best. My parents are immigrants and were extremely poor as children but they also worked hard and went from poverty to middle class.

I’m teaching my children to work hard and be good people and contribute to this world.

How pray tell am I benefiting from “pre-rigging”? I’ve made solid decisions throughout my life and sacrificed to be where I am today.

Now I’m being told that my children will be at a disadvantage for college because my wife and I worked hard our entire careers and succeeded. That’s hogwash. Absolute hogwash and I’m furious.


They will NOT be at a disadvantage for college; they will still be at an advantage, because of all the opportunities you have given them. They may be at a slightly smaller advantage than now; is that terrible?


Again, i think this is more like the inner city kid who gets a 700 on the SAT math section vs a privileged kid who gets an 800. They aren't letting in talent less hacks just cause they are poor.


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> Take a break from your "I gotta get mine before anyone else gets any!" attitude

Can you please edit personal slights like that out of your comments to HN? They break the site guidelines and undermine your case.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I can’t agree with this sentiment of yours.

While I agree that people that had less than ideal childhoods should be given more opportunities to succeed, it shouldn’t be at the expense of those who worked their ass off for their kids, only to see their hard work taken away by government laws.

My own parents and grandparents came from shitty roots. Russia, concentration camp, Brazil, then to the US. My parents worked hard and I had better opportunities because of that.

What if government took that reward away from them? Well, surprise surprise, it did (just in another country in another era).

_you_ have a choice too: either to take the hand that’s dealt you and move forward, or complain about how others had it better because of their parents, or their own actions.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life due to circumstances as well as choices I made. I don’t blame other people for what happened to me (but I will blame government services being complete shit, especially towards veterans).

This isn’t a perfect world, so don’t complain what others get that you don’t have. Work towards making the world better instead, without destroying what others have worked hard for in the meantime.


You working for your kids doesn't mean your kids worked.


So I guess I didn't work either?


Did you even read the comment? Child of immigrant barely in middle class is not privilege.


Immigrant children are very privileged to have parents who managed to lift their asses and move to another country in search of a better life.

Parents who care is the single greatest privilege a child may get.


There are different dimensions to privilege. For example even the worst-off class born in the US still has some advantages from being a US citizen.


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People who work hard deserve the fruits of their labor, regardless of their economic status. I have no problems with economically disadvantaged hard working people getting into great colleges, I have problems with equally hardworking people being disadvantaged because their parents are successful.


But the richer children are inherently privileged, yet you think providing privilege to poorer children is immoral. Why is one acceptable but the other is not?


Wouldn’t you agree that two people who achieve the same score on the test may not have worked equally hard? If someone scored the same as your child, except they didn’t have good security, good quality schools, parents that could help them, etc, I would say that they in fact worked much harder than your children.

And by the logic of “those who worked harder deserve it more”, well I think you see where this is going.

If anything this adversity score IS making things more fair because it’s providing light to the extra challenges someone might have had and thus who indeed worked harder at it.


We don’t know if they worked harder or not. It’s almost impossible to determine if the reason for any particular success is good teachers, hard work, or genetics.


If this score was unrealistically perfect and able to accurately account for every possible detail, maybe. If instead it just does a cheap job of assuming anyone with a certain set of data points is at a major disadvantage, nope.

The test claims to be measuring a students ability to learn in the first place, not just their current knowledge, so why not aim to make that more accurate instead of bypassing it?


So let me get this correct...

The subject area is the SAT, a test, which is imperfect like all tests, with research which indicates that it's actually problematic for such a diverse country like the USA. So a test like the SAT, which boils down to a single number. Yes that's the subject.

And now they're making the results 2 numbers. The test and some, well known summary of information about the student.

And THIS, THIS is the bridge too far?

Honestly, do you even hear yourself? What should a third party think about your words? Perhaps you could help me and provide a back story of how you've been in opposition to the SAT for a long time, and how this just reinforces a flawed test.

But nope, it sure does seem like you're focusing in on how this test might provide opportunities to black and brown people.

But I'm sure that's not that, because it's hackernews, and we are so polite to each other and reasonable.

So, tell me again why the SAT is good, but SAT + adversity score is bad?


Growing up in a zip code is not a challenge. This "adversity score" doesn't measure adversity.


Admissions is generally a zero sum game, so whenever you help one group, you hurt everyone else who doesn't have that benefit.


Well, then every privileged person who gets in is "hurting" someone of lesser inherent opportunity.

They can use that privilege to spread their applications around to increase their opportunities.


Sure, and every non-privileged person who gets in also hurts others who are in the same situation, since they have taken up a spot. The difference is in this case there is an actual policy which is actively punishing people for being in a perceived state of privilege.


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You can also give resources to those who aren't in privilege so they are able to succeed academically, and don't need to have their admission average artificially lowered.


Giving resources is also a zero-sum game. When you're giving more resources to those that aren't privileged, you are in effect denying those same resources for those that are.

For example, school admissions. We can provide more funding for underperforming schools, but that is also less funding going towards better performing schools. At a certain point you will have to accept that to help the poor it will mean cutting off certain benefits for more well-off. Then the discussion becomes around how much resources should be shifted around.


No. If I can afford to provide my own resources, I’m okay with this. Just like I’m okay paying for social security but not receiving any when I retire. Those that have more resources can afford to take less than those that don’t have enough resources themselves.

What I’m not okay with is adjusting scores and denying opportunity because of economic class warfare.


You seem to be in the minority in that regard.

Those that have more resources have historically spent significant amounts of those resources to ensure that they pay in as little of them to anyone else as possible.


>Punishing those in privilege is how you achieve equality.

Tall poppy syndrome. Destroying things does not create things. You can drop a nuclear bomb on silicon valley and punish lots of privilege. It's not going to achieve any notion of equality.


Not talking about destruction. Only redistribution.


Equality of outcome, which should be avoided as much as possible.


This logic is ridiculous. No one should be punished, how about that?


So if you make $125k/yr and I make $75k/yr, equality can only exist if you give me 25k? Should America all just average our salaries and call it a day?


I think you'd be shocked how many people in America actually do think that's a good idea.


If I made $125k a year, that'd be almost double my current salary. I could spare the $25k, then, if you were struggling.

Could you do the same in the reverse situation?


Do you donate your extra money to charity or do you save some for your future? If you have the privilege of being able to save some money for your future, shame on you! There are people starving and you’re amassing your wealth?


What is "Extra Money?" I'm doing my best not to drown in debt. I've calculated it, and I can retire when I'm 142.


Wow... And there you go.


Wow punishing those in privilege creates equality. The logic “progressive” american politics is pursuing is truly scary and broken.

Hating the rich is hate.

If you really loved the poor you would think how to help them lift themselves up. Holding down the top both doesn’t work and is deeply unethical.

College board should provide free tutoring and review classes based of their adversity score instead.

I can’t image this scheme won’t be challenged in courts. Especially the keeping secret the score, imagine if your credit score was kept secret and this will effect their lives more than credit score.

As I have said in other comments, next we need an Unattractiveness Score as we know physical traits have high correlation and causation to success and wealth, clearly a privilege and creating inequality.

Tax credits for the ugly. Mandatory minor face disfigurement for the overly beautiful or handsome.

Very scary developments. America is under true threat to its future with this politics.


Would you please not do flamewars on HN? It's not what this site is for.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I can kinda see why you say that, my best guess is if I delete references to politics and progressive, american etc, then you might see it as less an issue.

The comment I was replying to was pretty absurd wording of punishments.

Anyway it’s always a little hard to know exactly how to interpret the guidelines as there is quite a bit of subjectivity.

I do apologize.


>If you really loved the poor you would think how to help them lift themselves up

I know! Let's give them a bit of advantage in getting an education.

Oh, wait.


Does anyone honestly believe the only way to provide that advantage is to fake their score? That kind of lazy thinking is what needs an adversity score to be considered good.


>For those in power, equality feels like oppression.

This is a classic Kafka-trap, and I see this rhetorical payload delivered more and more these days.

"If you have a problem with changing the status quo, then you're in power and thus deserve to have the status quo changed on you."


Or it's:

"If you have a problem with changing the status quo, in a situation where the change would make you lose something, take extra time to examine whether it was justified for the status quo to give you that thing in the first place."

Which is good advice.


If the status quo systematically oppresses one group and benefits another, the beneficiaries of said system will perceive any change to the status quo that would reduce the oppression of the former group as an unfair attack.


I mean if we reversed this plan and said students from rich areas get bonus points on their SATs, wouldn't poor areas call it an unfair attack? Does that somehow prove that rich kids are systemtically oppressed? This vague statement is not some kind of proof of oppression, it's just wordplay.


But it's not systemic oppression. The system doesn't try to keep poor people poor or uneducated. Do poor people have it harder? Yes, but they have many of the same opportunities available to them. The modern world is rich in information that is freely taught. College is signaling in large part, but there are plenty of opprobrious right now where skill beats signaling.


I'm not sure about ascribing desires to 'the system', but let me do so. The system does try to keep some/many people poor and uneducated in many different ways. If you want the most egregious examples, look at how we treat(ed?) blacks and Native Americans ... the system decreed blacks could be slaves up until one generation ago; the system decreed they would get way less legal rights up until 2 generations ago; the system decreed they would not get loans for housing up until at most one generation ago; the system currently harrasses them and puts them in prison ... many features of our school system seems designed to keep poor people uneducated.

Many times it is harder to see what is currently going on; so, if you want a more blatant current example, right now, the system is keeping undocumented immigrants poor and uneducated on purpose.


>The system doesn't try to keep poor people poor or uneducated.

The system doesn't have motives. Individual behavior can give rise to systemic oppression with no top level design goals needed.

If we take a look at Black people specifically:

Black sounding last names are half as likely to receive callbacks for job interviews. Black people are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and receive longer sentences for committing the same crimes as White people. It's harder for Black people to find housing. Its even harder for them to rent vacation properties.

Black children even receive harsher punishments for the same infractions in elementary school.

All of these things put together mean that yes, they are systemically oppressed, and the system is currently keeping them poorer and less educated. Exceptional individuals will overcome this oppression, but reinforcing feedback loops ensure that if something isn't done to break the cycle, it will continue, and as a class Black people will always be at a disadvantage.


Cute device to hide behind without actually defending unfair attacks.


Nope, not going to play this ridiculous game. And this is a game. I don’t know how or why the modern left started employing the rhetorical tactics mastered by Lenin but here we are.


I suspect this is what is taught in college these days. I would add punishing people for hard work seems to be more of a Stalin thing.


>>I don’t know why my family should be punished because my wife and I worked our asses off to get ahead.

Just to offer some general commentary, I think this mentality is probably the root of most of our social ills: people see everything as a "race" and they work hard to "get ahead", and they therefore get angry at policies that attempt to even the playing field because it might help others "catch up".


It's not an anger at helping others catch up, but an anger at pulling people back. We can help people who are behind without sacrificing the people who are already ahead.


Isn't it both? There are only X spots per school. Every person being helped up and admitted is someone being pulled back and denied. I have no opinion on this debate, but school admissions are a zero-sum-game, afaik.


In terms of school admissions I would agree. In terms of society in general however i'm not entirely convinced that it's a zero sum game.


Colleges aren't a zero sum game. The more qualified college goers there are over time, the more total college spots will be available. It's not like the number of universities (and the size of each) is some fixed constant. The entire pie can be, and is, grown.


Oh in terms of something like money, taking X dollars from the richest and using it to help the poorest is extremely positive sum.

This might be true for college admissions too, if you're flush with opportunities you're still ahead if you lose one.

But there's still an aspect of "pulling people back". It's a hard tradeoff to design. But if you do it right you really can make something with better outcomes and more fairness, even if some will call it an abomination.


>>We can help people who are behind without sacrificing the people who are already ahead.

Again, the problem is you are viewing the world through a certain lens, where people are "ahead" or "behind".


Oh I see now, I totally misinterpreted your comment, sorry.


To be fair, this is kind of impressed on people when so many are judged by the name of the school on their diploma or a score they received in the first quarter of their life. There's no guarantee a Harvard accepted child will have a happier life than someone "destined" to be a fast food cashier, but when we pressure young kids with so much judgment before they even experience life, it feels like a race from the start.

Couple this with the lack of class mobility and sometimes people feel participating in that race was the only way to control your future.


I'm sure it is the root of many social ills, but the alternative is the root of many more social ills. The competitive struggle is what drives people to be productive. Without that, people don't attempt very much. Attempts to level the playing field cause widespread corruption as people evade the restrictions on competition. The lack of productivity is then fixed by the use of force.


Sorry I don't want to live in Harrison Bergeron world.



There’s tales of Bay Area families renting and moving their HS juniors and seniors to the Central Valley where UC accepts a higher percentage from.


I was talking to someone who's been involved in elite university admissions, and gaming for the city/neighborhood/HS has been a known tactic for a while.

There's a related tactic for people in affluent suburbs, for getting their child into urban school districts with an especially well-regarded primary public school: buy a house or condo in the city, and try to make it look on your application like that's your primary residence.


At that point why not just send your kids to a private school?


Depending on where you live, the break-even point of doing this versus a private school can be under 2 kids (and is usually under 3 kids), so you save quite a bit of money.


Many do, but some public schools are very well-regarded by parents, such as: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Latin_School


Money. Private schools can be $40K or more (after taxes) per child per year. You can get a lot of real estate for that money instead in a lot of markets.


It always gets ugly. I had a (well-off, white) friend use another friend's address to get into the high school I went to. He ended up at Princeton so I guess it worked well for him. No one did anything about it. The case in 2011 where an Ohio woman (Kelley Williams-Bolar) was sentenced to a short jail sentence and 3 years probation and asked to pay $30000 to the school because she did the same thing has come up in the news again. She's black of course. There's that guy who paid $400,000 to get his kid into Georgetown as a tennis player who is now suing Georgetown 'cause they had the gall to expel his kid. It's all a matter of how much you can pay for a lawyer after your crime/gaming of the system.


Felicity Huffman is going to go to jail for much longer than Kelley Williams-Bolar (9 days), even though she is rich, white, and has great lawyers.


And there's been media discussion of why her husband hasn't been charged, despite being on the phone calls & verbally approving the crime!


Talk about moving the goalposts...


People using what they have to get their kids ahead is just called "Life".

Why are nice neighborhoods more expensive than bad ones? Why are good school districts more competitive than bad ones? Why do parents go to great lengths to get their kids better opportunity?

There will always be motivation to find the best ways to "play the system".

Also, what actually shows if someone is a good student or not?

A student with lower adversity could still have immense pressure if their family has sunk so much investment into their success.

For example, there are Asian parents I knew that had their kids regimentally studying for the SAT since age 12 like they were practicing to become professional athletes. Their parents left their entire lives behind to come to America and work their way up for the sake of their kids getting into a good college then getting a good job.


I guess that means it'll give the truly wealthy, who can afford such shenanigans, an advantage over the decently well off. Fascinating.


That doesn't seem so terrible. More schools and property taxes in poor neighborhoods is an okay outcome as far as they go.


I think you're overestimating the taxes paid by a shell office (it's not uncommon for dozens/hundreds of organizations to use the same small office suite, staffed by a single receptionist).

Fancy private school in expensive neighborhood registers their official address in a poor neighborhood, and calls the school in the 'nice' neighborhood a "satellite campus".




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