Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weekend Impressions. . .

Yesterday, as I walked into the post office to mail a letter, my eye caught a large banner hanging over the main entrance. The message was printed boldly in Spanish and English.

"Send money to Mexico here!" read the sign's cheerful invitation.

"Compare fees," the offer challenged those who entered and who needed to send funds back home to family members living south of our border.


A U. S. Government building offering financial services, for a small fee of course, to people needing to transfer assets to loved ones outside the United States. Most who use this service are undoubtedly undocumented. But, as with Social Security payments, our government won't turn away from potential collections or, in this case, customers.

Anyone see an irony? A bit of hypocrisy?

Maybe our leaders just need to hammer out a policy that is clear and fair for everyone?

Just a thought.

National Public Radio broadcast an interesting report yesterday on the decided advantage that children of the rich and powerful have when it comes to university admissions policies at may of the nation's prestigious, major universities.

It seems that grades, class rank, creative essays and entrance exam scores aren't the only factors university admissions departments consider when deciding who gets in and who doesn't.
And, these surprising policies go far beyond traditional legacy admissions.

For students from rich families there is another important indicator: the "development score" or potential of the families of these upper class students. If a student comes from a rich, powerful or celebrity family with the ability to make significant contributions to the school in question, that student has a better chance of admission than a great student from a poorer family.

Hmmm. Does this sound like another win for an emerging American aristocracy?

Former Congressman John Bryant (D-TX) taught the Sunday School class I attended a couple of months ago.

He talked with great clarity and acumen about "spiritual formation."

He taught us from his personal experience.

He has led groups of adults at his church over the past several years into and through a deeper understanding of what the process of spiritual seeking and growth actually means, looks like and results in.

As I listened to John share his heart with the small class of about a dozen older adults, it occurred to me that I was listening to a thoroughly authentic human being for whom faith is vitally important.

When he served in the U. S. Congress, representing the 5th Congressional District, his spiritual life worked its way out in the policy he attempted to shape.

John's words and, even more, his life, make it very clear that the current popular perception regarding faith and political parties leaves much to be discussed.

Christians, as well as devout people from other religious traditions, sit on both sides of the political aisle.

We would all do well to remember this very obvious truth.

1 comment:

Allen Gillespie said...

Since you don't have a comment on this day, I'll help you out larry :)
When I first got into the world of college admissions, one of the things that rubbed me the wrong way was the "VIP" aspect. But, as i got to meet administrators at other schools, i started to learn that EVERY school (no matter how big or small, selective or not selective) has to deal with this issue. Many colleges would not be able to survive without this component. (either that, or jack up tuition to where no one can afford it).
i started reading (but did not finish) a book called The Chosen that looked at the history of admission at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Very interesting book. I think these three schools are known today for their ability to enroll low income students with potential and help cover their costs of attending. Just go to USNEWS and look at the "best value" list. its because these schools can completely cover the cost of any student they want, regardless of how poor they are. But what you'll find in The Chosen is that just over 100 years ago they were only admitting rich kids that weren't that smart. But their investment paid off as now these schools offer the best education in the country and can do it for free to those who need it the most and can make a difference in their communities.
That being said, its still pretty jacked up these days. The worst part - many of those rich kids end up being the discipline problems at the school.
If there is one thing I've learned in Private School admissions - there are no gurantees. If people want true fairness they will have to seek it at a public school, because it does not exist in private school admission.