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Discouraging honest students may be the college cheating scandal's worst effect

Discouraging honest students may be the college cheating scandal's worst effect
Marlene Gamas, left, and advisor Christine Kelley brainstorm at Boyle Heights Beat for a story about the college admissions scandal. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a citizen and former educator, I am angered by the distorted sense of familial love that the parents accused of bribing their children into elite colleges demonstrate. I am disturbed that this scandal might cause worthy low-income students to lose faith in their own life struggle to make it into the college of their choice. (“The college cheating scandal hit these Eastside high school kids hard,” column, March 17)

They already must overcome complex life challenges along the way just to knock on the door. When applying for college, they also must deal with a very complex admissions process that they now understand can tilt in favor of the privileged.

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As these young, hardworking students deal with this scandal, I hope they will have an epiphany about their self-worth and their right and privilege to attend the college of their choice. They should know that the rest of us depend on their honorable struggle and life experience to keep defining our democratic way of life.

Those who bribe and cheat to get their kids into college commit a crime against our entire society because they use their abundant blessings to dishonor their families, weaken our democracy and stain the American dream.

Maria Casillas, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: I graduated from college at age 30.

I was married at 19 and had less than two years of work completed at UCLA. I had two babies very quickly and could see that getting that degree was essential to all of our futures.

I went to Los Angeles Valley College at night and later, when my kids were in elementary school, I attended Cal State Northridge. My husband had the opportunity to work in San Francisco, so I transferred to San Francisco State and earned my degree and my teaching credential. When I returned to Los Angeles and was teaching high school, I enrolled in graduate studies and earned by master’s degree.

That 15-year journey is probably my biggest source of personal pride. I cannot imagine a parent stealing that opportunity from his or her child.

Phyllis Molloff, Fallbrook

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To the editor: For those wondering why our kids face so much pressure on our kids to get into a fancy college, all they have to do is read Steve Lopez’s March 15 column on the values we are teaching our children.

Lopez waxes on about morals, life and meaning, and then goes on for much of the article quoting an educational advocate and his information from Stanford University’s Center on Adolescence — not Arizona State University, not Cal State Fullerton, not even my alma mater UC Santa Barbara, but Stanford.

Although I had one heck of a good time at UCSB.

Tim Marshall, Corona del Mar

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