November 30, 2018

"T.M. Landry, a school in small-town Louisiana, has garnered national attention for vaulting its underprivileged black students to elite colleges. But the school cut corners and doctored college applications."

An exposé in the NYT. It ends:
“Write whatever you want to write about us on the negative side,” Mr. Landry told a reporter. “But at the end of the day, my sister, if we got kids at Harvard every day, I’m going to fight for Harvard. Why is it O.K. that Asians get to Harvard? Why is it O.K. that white people get to Harvard?”

Mr. Landry raised his voice. He accused The Times of saying that it was wrong for T.M. Landry to want the best for its black students. He told his students that he would always fight for them. “We need the haters,” he said. “I welcome the haters.”

He raised his arms on either side of him, forming a cross.

“My name is Michael Landry. I am the reformer,” he said. “They killed Jesus Christ because he could save the world. I say to myself, who are you compared to Jesus? Nothing! So I stick my arms out and say nail me to the cross if that’s what you want.”
Landry then goes into a practiced routine with the group of students he brought to his interview with the NYT. He calls out the language and they say "I love you" in that language. The final language is "Mike-a-nese!" (that is, Michael Landry's own language) and the students say "I love you" in "Mike-a-nese," which is: "Kneel!" Elsewhere in the article, we learn that he says he has the children kneel for 5 minutes at most to learn humility, but there are also stories of students kneeling for 2 hours and students "forced to kneel on rice, rocks and hot pavement."

This is a private school, with high tuition, in Louisiana. You may have enjoyed some of the videos of students from this school opening acceptance letters from, say, Harvard. Millions have shallowly warmed themselves watching that infectious propaganda.

71 comments:

Annie C said...

Crack would have a field day with this.

Dave Begley said...

Once they are accepted at Harvard, how do they perform in class?

Other than athletes, Harvard should just do a lottery system for admissions to undergrad school.

Shane said...

Invoking a Christ comparison and His crucifixion in regard to one's own predicament is rarely a good sign for the future of any endeavor.

Darrell said...

Just give them a diploma that says "Havard (intentional misspelling) Junior College on Day 1. Summa Cum Laude, of course.

holdfast said...

I guess I should care? Frankly I am so sick of Ivy League bullshit that seeing this weirdo fucking with them kinda makes me smile.

It’s like “Grutter this bitchez!”

Rick said...

Why is it O.K. that Asians get to Harvard? Why is it O.K. that white people get to Harvard?

How did so many people came to believe skin color is the only relevant qualification?

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

Darn. I was hoping this was about Tom Landry Middle School.

rehajm said...

He and Harvard deserve each other. Ask Liz Warren.

rehajm said...

If these kids can't back it up they either flop out in the real world or they besmirch the institutions that suck them along.

Remember when journalism and law were respected professions?

(Okay maybe not law...)

chickenlittle said...

Althouse's google alert for "garner" garners some odd hits.

RK said...

He told his students that he would always fight for them. “We need the haters,” he said. “I welcome the haters.”

I wish someday that an NYT article would question the wisdom of telling black kids that everyone hates them.

AllenS said...

These kids are in for a rude awakening.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...


“Crack would have a field day with this”

And his indignation would be justified. The Landryites are no different than thousands of White and Asian chancers pumping up their applications with flagrant, yet plausible, bullshit and experience made possible purely by their parent’s money. There’s the process and then there’s how the process is gamed.

mezzrow said...

"I’m going to fight for Harvard."

As with the Asian kids, be careful what you ask for.

Fernandistein said...

Darn. I was hoping this was about Tom Landry Middle School.

I was worried that Joseph Gribble might have unfairly benefited at the expense of Connie Souphanousinphone.

Caligula said...

"Why is it O.K. that Asians get to Harvard? Why is it O.K. that white people get to Harvard?"

When this is unpacked, is there anything left other than an assertion that Asians and white people got to Harvard because they are Asian, or because they are white?

When unpacked, the implied assertion is not merely false, but the opposite of true as it's hardly a secret that African-Americans can get admitted to Harvard who would not be admitted if their applications stated their race as "Asian" or "white."

Presumably even Harvard can calculate that it does no one a favor to admit a student who has little chance of success and thus is likely to leave with the stigma of having flunked out, and with a load of student debt. Harvard's choices thus become (1) admit on academic merit, or (2) accept that the cost of preferences will be a high flunk-out rate among the 'beneficiaries' or create pathways to a gen-u-wine Harvard degree that can be successfully navigated by those with less academic ability.

Whoever said "The first casualty of war is truth" obviously never heard of affirmative action. Has anyone ever said anything honest about it, or implemented it using methods that were fully transparent to all?

Kevin said...

The point isn't to cram a few of your kids into one of the 1600 slots Harvard jealously guards each year.

The point is to show your kids so many paths to success they all end up being successful.

To do that, Harvard must become much less important.

But it's not for the kids is it? It's for the parents who pay the tuition. It's about what they want for their money.

Kevin said...

Somehow this post is missing its garner (the word) tag...

Leland said...

He's the hero Harvard deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so the NYT will hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector.

Fernandistein said...

Mr. Landry forced him to exaggerate his father’s absence from his life on his N.Y.U. application.

Wow! That's just like Kahn Souphanousinphone becoming the Redneck of Rainery Street, thereby increasing Connie's chances of getting into the Rice summer program!

Jupiter said...

When two people go crazy together, that's called folie a deux. What do you call it when a bunch of black kids and their parents in Louisiana go crazy together with a bunch of white people in New England?

Gahrie said...

Why is it O.K. that Asians get to Harvard? Why is it O.K. that white people get to Harvard?”

Because they earned their way in.

Every kid who got in through this man's cheating took a seat from someone else who earned it legitimately.

My name goes here. said...

I did not read the NYT expose. I will, but later when I have time.

If this guy can give any kids the benefits that rich parents give their children (establishing a foundation to help poor african kids, going to a shool where it is possible to get a 5.0 GPA, be president of the underwater basket weaving club, etc.) then more power to him. He is the man they deserve.

Sometimes the best way to reform a system is to game it so hard it breaks.

Harvard would benefit itself, current, past, and future students if the barriers to entry were firmly establish objective measures and very few subjective measures (essay, interview).

Ann Althouse said...

For those who don't read the article, the young people who get into excellent schools this way do not succeed. They are, obviously, woefully unprepared for the academics. More blame should be placed on the universities that allowed themselves to be conned. There isn't much discussion of how it was so easy for these big brains to be duped, but there's an insinuation that the ACT scores were not that horrible (because the Landry school taught to the ACT test), but what is withheld is any actual numeral ACT score.

AJ Lynch said...

This is much ado about nothing. The college application process has become a racket where almost all kids go nuts doing BS stuff so they can pad their resume. I didn't even know what a resume was when I was in high school and college. Today it's all about checking as many boxes as you can so why be surprised that many try and pad their resume.

If this is such an outrage to the NYT, shouldn't they ask to see Obama's Harvard application- he probably set the bar higher for doctoring applications.

Gahrie said...

More blame should be placed on the universities that allowed themselves to be conned.

Except the Left and the government have demanded that the universities participate in the con...it's called Affirmative Action.

EDH said...

As I remember this was a courtroom scene in the movie Helter Skelter (1976), with Manson's followers chanting their love and support support.


He raised his arms on either side of him, forming a cross.

“My name is Michael Landry. I am the reformer,” he said. “They killed Jesus Christ because he could save the world. I say to myself, who are you compared to Jesus? Nothing! So I stick my arms out and say nail me to the cross if that’s what you want.”

Landry then goes into a practiced routine with the group of students he brought to his interview with the NYT. He calls out the language and they say "I love you" in that language. The final language is "Mike-a-nese!" (that is, Michael Landry's own language) and the students say "I love you" in "Mike-a-nese," which is: "Kneel!" Elsewhere in the article, we learn that he says he has the children kneel for 5 minutes at most to learn humility, but there are also stories of students kneeling for 2 hours and students "forced to kneel on rice, rocks and hot pavement."

Gahrie said...

Harvard would benefit itself, current, past, and future students if the barriers to entry were firmly establish objective measures and very few subjective measures (essay, interview).

This would produce unpleasant demographics that would upset the Department of Education and the Left.

Kevin said...

There isn't much discussion of how it was so easy for these big brains to be duped,

Duped? They're willing participants.

For many it's in their job titles.

John said...

Don't all private schools do this? I'm not paying $50k a year for Horace Mann or Collegiate so they can give Harvard the unvarnished truth.

Michael said...

A young black woman or man going to an effectively segregated school gets straight As from first grade through high school. Popular, in clubs, the whole bit. Now in an elite school and suffering Cs and Ds. Whitey is getting As and Bs. So the black woman or man hangs with other blacks most of whom are cooking a huge resentment And what should they think? All those As and now these Ds.

mockturtle said...

I've seen weirder experimental private schools. At any rate, accreditation standards and elite institutions have rather lost their significance over the past few decades. Let's do an exposé on Harvard.

RK said...

Step 1: Be a victim of society
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Get a degree from Harvard
Step 4: ?
Step 5: Enjoy a financially secure retirement after a productive career.

I mostly got it figured out.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

Harvard would benefit itself, current, past, and future students if the barriers to entry were firmly establish objective measures and very few subjective measures (essay, interview).

Amen to that! Make Harvard, Yale, Stanford, et al, great again.

tommyesq said...

Colleges these days know the applications they receive are rarely an accurate picture of the prospective student. SAT and ACT tutoring programs distort the scores of those who take them versus those who don't, essays are professionally critiqued and brought up to snuff before being submitted, students embellish or exaggerate effects their disadvantages or diverseness had on their lives because they know that is what schools want to hear, etc. Colleges play along because they (a) know they can't really sort out the students on anything that is truly objective; and (b) don't like the student body that would result if they really tried to do so.

mockturtle said...

An intelligent and academically accomplished black girl I knew in high school was infuriated by Affirmative Action. She wrote an eloquent letter to the editor of the local paper expressing her indignation. She was concerned that, no matter what she achieved, she would be looked upon as an AA product and she considered the legislation as racist. She wanted to be judged on her merits, not on her skin color. This whole experiment in diversity enforcement has been a sad mistake. Without Affirmative Action, we might end up with more Asians and fewer blacks in universities. So be it.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

For those who don't read the article, the young people who get into excellent schools this way do not succeed. They are, obviously, woefully unprepared for the academics.

I didn't have to read the article to know that, common sense tells you that. Though, there have been empirical studies showing that mismatches between students and the school they attend has adverse effects on the student. In plain English, students attending schools with higher academic standards than they can meet do poorly, often failing or dropping out, whereas if they attended a school that was a match with their abilities, they're much more likely to succeed. Like I said, common sense. I'm just surprised that the NYT is actually running this expose. I can only surmise that they are preparing the battle space for when Harvard is forced to start admitting many more Asian students than they do currently.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Also, I was under the impression that once you got into Harvard you were pretty much guaranteed to graduate.

Temujin said...

This entire topic is something that has pissed me off for years (decades?). But not in the way you might think. What pisses me off is that we still have to talk about this. So let me get this off my chest.

Thomas Sowell wrote about this sort of thing (screwing with admissions standards to 'achieve' more balanced ratios of skin color at universities) years ago. He still writes about it. The way to improve the lives and education of underprivileged black citizens in America is not by lowering the standards of schools, or faking records so that they meet existing standards. The answer- that all of us continue to ignore for generations- is to fix the cities and schools where these kids live. We have lost and ignored entire generations of black Americans living in our cities, large and small. We accept it as- this is just what it is. 'That's the black part of town.' This has to end.

A child born into these cities is done before he/she can even get going. They don't have a chance to compete. It's all they can do in some cases to make it to age 18. THIS, and nothing else, is the most important and urgent calling of our nation. We lose entire generations and on one does anything but piss and moan about Dems doing this and Repubs doing that. No one does anything but talk. Somewhere in the middle of Detroit- right now- is a kid who would be the person to discover the cure for all cancers. Somewhere in south Chicago is a kid who would create a new form of energy. But neither of these two, or thousands of others will ever get that chance. They're too busy ducking bullets, or sitting in broken buildings that used to be real schools, getting half-educated, just trying to get through to the next grade.

What are we doing?

It doesn't have to be this way. We accept it. We do nothing about it. If it was our neighborhood, we'd not put up with it. We'd move or we'd change it. We need to see that these ARE OUR neighborhoods that we're ignoring. These are our cities and our neighbors. This is our future and the soul of our nation. We still have our major race issues because we don't actually do anything about it at it's core. It's not about changing the language, or counting the number of black faces in Harvard. Screw Harvard. it's about correcting the wrong that started out as slave ships and ended up as a bombed out looking ghetto we call Detroit (my home town). We've never taken that last step to erase the separate lives we live and actually join with each other to live fruitful lives together. After years of slavery, Jim Crow, institutional racism, we just got to the point where we ignore them. Just leave 'them' in a shit corner of Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Newark, etc., etc. and ..ignore it. Just ignore it. For generations. It is our disease and none of us will be well again until we address this.

Everything else to me is just talk. I don't know what to do, but if I was a Bezos type wealthy man, this would be my mandate. And any of you who have read my comments previously know that I am not a bleeding heart liberal. But I can't get past this. I bothers me every day of my life and I need to figure out what to do about it. I'm fucking tired of Democrats and Republicans. All of their rhetoric amounts to nothing more than fuel for a hot air balloon. I need to go back to work now.

Yancey Ward said...

"Sometimes the best way to reform a system is to game it so hard it breaks."

Indeed.

SweatBee said...

"Its underprivileged black students"? How are the underprivileged students affording $600/month tuition for k-12? And to what schools does it vault its privileged black students?

SeanF said...

Temujin, there's something beautifully ironic about taking six paragraphs, culminating with "I don't know what to do", to say that people talk too much and don't do anything.

Temujin said...

You're right, Sean F. I suppose I could have laid out a 10 point plan for you. Something you're more used to hearing as a solution to a large problem.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

“Blogger Ann Althouse said...
For those who don't read the article, the young people who get into excellent schools this way do not succeed.”

Equality of opportunity. No one here is arguing that the outcome isn’t on the individual. That doesn’t mean we make a presumption about a 17 or 18 year-old that they simply won’t be able to cut it with their better prepared peers. OK, if you can’t succeed at Harvard you go to Bumfuck Community College. I dislike affirmative action because it poisons the racial well, but the notion that that a smart kid with less-than-stellar secondary school preparation can’t make up the ground isn’t a reason to bar them from the opportunities of an elite school.

narayanan said...

Professora says
%More blame should be placed on the universities that allowed themselves to be conned.%

I hope Professora is honest and intelligent enough to realize
- the culture has reached where ##the Universities want to be conned##

gg6 said...

Frightening. I feel intimations of Jonestown while reading this...

Ken B said...

This post should garner a garner tag.

Sam L. said...

IF the school did cut corners and doctored the applications, the school is setting their students up for (likely) failure.

JPS said...

Temujin,

Thank you for an eloquent post. That one's a keeper. I agree strongly, with one caveat: The Bezos-level wealthy man is necessary but not sufficient, as you know.

I've felt for a long time that AA at the college and graduate school level is the easy fix, the help that comes in long after it would have made a real difference, and has the effects mainly of (a) taking those who were going to be successful anyway and pushing them further ahead, and (b) taking those who were borderline and giving them an opportunity that they're poorly prepared to take advantage of.

Rick said...

if I was a Bezos type wealthy man, this would be my mandate.

Zuckerberg already tried this in Newark NJ.

https://www.npr.org/2015/09/21/442183080/assessing-the-100-million-upheaval-of-newarks-public-schools

I like this article not just because it outlines the failure but if you read between the lines you can understand why. The discussion focuses on groups resentful of not directing the process or being expected to do more.

Ultimately the problem with the education system is the goals. In the two big cities I am most familiar with the priorities are:

1. Political base - both votes and money.
2. Jobs program.
3. Daycare.
4. Education.

Most of the people in the system are there specifically because of these priorities - the remainder may resent them but have made peace with it. How are you going to reorder the priorities against the wishes of essentially everyone in the system? A business would lose customers but those who control the current systems fight against creating alternatives specifically because they understand this.

As you can see in the article this is in fact a large part of the conflict.

Freeman Hunt said...

"but what is withheld is any actual numeral ACT score."

This bothered me throughout the article. Did they really not ask for this information? Did they ask and parents refuse to provide it? Or do they have the information and are not sharing it because the scores are high and make Landry look better? Or are they not sharing it because the scores are so low that they reveal these elite schools are accepting students who are clearly unprepared--that the schools don't care if they set students up for failure as long as the school demographics look good?

SeanF said...

Temujin: You're right, Sean F. I suppose I could have laid out a 10 point plan for you. Something you're more used to hearing as a solution to a large problem.

Well, writing even more wouldn't've really eliminated the irony.

But why did you say you don't know what to do if you've got a 10-point plan?

mockturtle said...

But why did you say you don't know what to do if you've got a 10-point plan?

Sean, I'm not sure you get the irony of Tejujin's comment. [eye roll]

PS: Ten Point Plans, Five Point Plan, Great Leap Forward, etc...the usual ploy of socialist agendas.

Hey Skipper said...

Temujin said...
This entire topic is something that has pissed me off for years (decades?). But not in the way you might think. What pisses me off is that we still have to talk about this. So let me get this off my chest.


Well, damn, if that isn't just about the best internet I have seen this year.

Leora said...

I'd be really interested in the success rate of these kids in their elite schools. It sounds like they learn to work hard and be humble which I think would bode well for them. The mismatch comes when folks are told they are the best an brightest and deserving of A's and then get in a situation where they are over their heads. I doubt there's anything these college applications have on them that's worse than what the kids with college coaches paid for by their parents have.

Also I second Temujin, screw Harvard - every American child should be taught to read, write and do arithmetic adequately enough to self educate if they want to go further. We've allowed our schools to become breeding grounds for the worst sort of pathologies and we apparently don't care enough to fix it.

mockturtle said...

Leora observes: We've allowed our schools to become breeding grounds for the worst sort of pathologies and we apparently don't care enough to fix it.

Amen and amen!!!

Rabel said...

"We accept it. We do nothing about it."

"Just ignore it. For generations. It is our disease and none of us will be well again until we address this."

I'm baffled by your contention that we ignore the problems in our inner city schools, that we accept it and do nothing about it.

Maybe the people who have spent untold billions trying to fix the problem have run into the same issue you have - they don't know how to fix the problem.

Maybe it hasn't fixed because there is no fix, but the idea that it's being ignored is simply wrong.

Ambrose said...

This is the kind of heresy NYT has to stamp out. Good liberals on the Upper West Side can't sleep at night knowing this is going on in Louisiana.

Tim said...

Remember when journalism and law were respected professions?

No.

rcocean said...

"For those who don't read the article, the young people who get into excellent schools this way do not succeed. They are, obviously, woefully unprepared for the academic"

I'm sure some of them don't. But maybe a minority do. Also, just because you don't succeed at Harvard, doesn't mean getting accepted at Harvard was a bad move. You spend a year at Harvard and then transfer to less impressive school like Notre Dame or UCLA.

But you still have Harvard on your resume. "Oh, why did you leave Harvard?" "I felt they didn't like Black folks, so I transferred to College XYZ, which made me feel more welcome. As a black person".

Still a winner.

JaimeRoberto said...

If only there were some test of scholastic aptitude that colleges could use to see if applicants' GPAs are puffed up with easy courses, or conversely somewhat lower due to challenging courses.

rcocean said...

For some reason Black folks are bad test takers. Didn't' Michelle Obama fail the Bar Exam?

There are plenty of super intelligent black folks, who've succeeded in life, but they did poorly or got mediocre scores SAT Scores or Bar Exams.

I think "Test taking" is a particular skill that some people have, and its connected in some way to taking a lot of tests and/or reading a lot. I've know a lot of people in business with great SAT scores and high GPA"s who weren't very good.

mockturtle said...

Didn't' Michelle Obama fail the Bar Exam?

IIRC, Hillary failed it more than once.

mockturtle said...

If a football player majors in 'Communications' he should do fine. ;-)

dbzdak said...

Can someone dub a Beavis and Butthead scene: "Heh heh...She said 'garner'...heh heh"

That's what I hear whenever I see that word these days.

mockturtle said...

Didn't' Michelle Obama fail the Bar Exam?

IIRC, Hillary failed it more than once.


Correction: She failed the DC bar exam but passed the Arkansas bar exam.

bbkingfish said...

Trump University for black kids. Lawsuits to follow.

Char Char Binks said...

Every year there are up to a handful or so of students who get accepted to EVERY Ivy. I'm sure they're fine, exemplary, intelligent students but it's CURIOUS that they are never, or almost never, white or Asian (East, South, or whatever), and rarely Latino, unless they're Latinos on the darker end of the Bell curve.

Char Char Binks said...

I know Dartmouth in particular recruits Indigians, partly because it started as an Indian school (sort of), but I wonder how many would qualify if not for preferential treatment. Of course they relax their standards for them as much as the quota requires.

Char Char Binks said...

I'm surprised Dartmouth didn't snag Elizabeth Warren.