By Rod Dreher
This is a real blow. Not long ago, I saw a story on CBS News, or somewhere, about T.M. Landry, a college prep school in Cajun country that managed to send a lot of black students from impoverished backgrounds to good colleges. The narrative was that black kids from broken families and poverty could make it to top American colleges if only they had the kind of discipline that the school, founded and run by Michael Landry and his wife, a black couple, provided them.
This video of a T.M. Landry student receiving his Harvard acceptance letter went viral:
The Landrys have become a national sensation:
Landry success stories have been splashed in the past two years on the “Today” show, “Ellen” and the “CBS This Morning.” Education professionals extol T.M. Landry and its 100 or so kindergarten-through-12th-grade students as an example for other Louisiana schools. Wealthy supporters have pushed the Landrys, who have little educational training, to expand to other cities. Small donors, heartened by the web videos, send in a steady stream of cash.
It turns out that it was too good to be true. The New York Times tells the ugly truth:
In reality, the school falsified transcripts, made up student accomplishments and mined the worst stereotypes of black America to manufacture up-from-hardship tales that it sold to Ivy League schools hungry for diversity. The Landrys also fostered a culture of fear with physical and emotional abuse, students and teachers said. Students were forced to kneel on rice, rocks and hot pavement, and were choked, yelled at and berated.
The Landrys’ deception has tainted nearly everyone the school has touched, including students, parents and college admissions officers convinced of a myth.
Some of the Landry kids who got into top-rank colleges have succeeded in spite of the deception.
For yet other Landry students, particularly those who spent multiple years at the school, the results after graduation have been disappointing. Some have withdrawn from college, or transferred to less rigorous programs.
Asja Jackson, whose Wesleyan University acceptance video also went viral, decided to leave this month after she said she fell into a depression over her first-semester struggles. She said she “froze and failed” her first chemistry tests and walked out of a biology exam. Her papers, she said, were “childish,” and she was too embarrassed to attend a writing workshop.
She studied and worked through the night, like she had done at T.M. Landry since eighth grade, but she just was not “catching it,” she said. She said she eventually stopped eating, talking to her friends, leaving her room or going to class.
“I didn’t understand why people around me were doing well, and I wasn’t,” said Ms. Jackson, who took the advice of her dean and started medical leave. “I couldn’t tell my friends because they would say, ‘How did you get into the school then?’ There were too many questions that I couldn’t answer.”
Mr. Landry used to tout the school as created for “black troublemakers.” As it became more prominent, it started to appeal to …read more
Via:: American Conservative
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