Louisiana school famous for getting minority kids into the Ivy League turns out to be a fraud

Over the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of buzz about T.M. Landry College Preparatory School in Louisiana. It was started specifically to get poor black kids into elite colleges, and that was the sales pitch to black families: yes, tuition is steep, but we’ll get your kids into the big leagues. And it appeared to be working. Viral videos of students getting acceptance emails/letters to Harvard, Yale, Brown, etc, were the toast of YouTube.

Until now.

The New York Times and several other groups have been digging into the school, and surprise surprise: the whole operation is a fraud. Here’s the Cliff Notes version: the school “assisted” with student college applications, and almost completely falsified everything from their family backgrounds, their grades and test scores, and even made up academic events from thin air that the students had supposedly competed in:

 

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 saidStudents were forced to kneel on rice, rocks and hot pavement, and were choked, yelled at and berated.

 

Worse, the inevitable happened. When the students DID get to these elite schools, they very often couldn’t handle the coursework, needing remedial work in sometimes even the most basic subjects.

And the school? Still operating. Local and state authorities say they don’t have the jurisdiction to shut it down.

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11 thoughts on “Louisiana school famous for getting minority kids into the Ivy League turns out to be a fraud”

  1. Well, libertarian paradise right? Private School. Let the market sort it out. No reason for the government to step in. So what is they harming students? Unless it is actual physical harm, who is to say it is harm. The Choking is reason for specific, individual charges.

    This is a triumph of libertariansim. The market will work it out.

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  2. Bryan G. Stephens:
    No reason for the government to step in.

    The original post said, “Local and state authorities say they don’t have the jurisdiction to shut it down.”  This may well be the case, because the criminal statutes the most likely violated are mail and wire fraud, which are federal crimes (18 U.S.C. § 1341 and 1343).  Unless one of the colleges they defrauded was in Louisiana, the federal statute would apply.  Presumably, any of the colleges who were defrauded could bring a civil case against the “school” or take the case to a federal prosecutor.

    Libertarians have no objection whatsoever to civil prosecution for fraud, which is essentially the same thing as breach of contract.

    They may get away with it because of the optics of going after an outfit claiming to get poor blacks into prestigious colleges, and because no converged prosecutor would dare raise the question of academic “mismatch” as tort.

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  3. John Walker:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    No reason for the government to step in.

    The original post said, “Local and state authorities say they don’t have the jurisdiction to shut it down.”  This may well be the case, because the criminal statutes the most likely violated are mail and wire fraud, which are federal crimes (18 U.S.C. § 1341 and 1343).  Unless one of the colleges they defrauded was in Louisiana, the federal statute would apply.  Presumably, any of the colleges who were defrauded could bring a civil case against the school” or take the case to a federal prosecutor.

    Libertarians have no objection whatsoever to civil prosecution for fraud, which is essentially the same thing as breach of contract.

    Ah, lawsuits. The great bastion of libertarin justice. Those work so well  now. Let’s have more of them to get justice.

    They may get away with it because of the optics of going after an outfit claiming to get poor blacks into prestigious colleges, and because no converged prosecutor would dare raise the question of academic mismatch” as  tort.

    Pretty sure this shows the failure of “The market will sort it out” then

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  4. John Walker:
    They may get away with it because of the optics of going after an outfit claiming to get poor blacks into prestigious colleges, and because no converged prosecutor would dare raise the question of academic “mismatch” as  tort.

    Don’t be so sure. We have seen similar things in terms of government creating a conspiracy and then going after its coconspirators. Consider, mandates on banks to make risky home loans and then going after the banks to force loan forgiveness. Consider, also, student loans. The main issues are whether the target has money and whether the NEA wants to take the target down.

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  5. ctlaw:
    Consider, also, student loans. The main issues are whether the target has money and whether the NEA wants to take the target down.

    And this is the true story. Kids get loans that are backed by the govt and they are often not qualified for these schools, fail, or even worse, graduate with less than impressive grades or recommendations and live to pay off six figure debts.

    It’s a scam quite smoothly coordinated between academia and the Feds.

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  6. Bryan G. Stephens:
    Well, libertarian paradise right? Private School. Let the market sort it out. No reason for the government to step in. So what is they harming students? Unless it is actual physical harm, who is to say it is harm. The Choking is reason for specific, individual charges.

    This is a triumph of libertariansim. The market will work it out.

    This is a rather cheap shot. First since this is a fraudulent operation, it is open to all sorts of litigation, which many anarcho-capitalists look to as the means of ensuring legal and ethical business practices. Second, your precious government states that it is powerless to do anything according to this post.

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  7. Robert A. McReynolds:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Well, libertarian paradise right? Private School. Let the market sort it out. No reason for the government to step in. So what is they harming students? Unless it is actual physical harm, who is to say it is harm. The Choking is reason for specific, individual charges.

    This is a triumph of libertariansim. The market will work it out.

    This is a rather cheap shot. First since this is a fraudulent operation, it is open to all sorts of litigation, which many anarcho-capitalists look to as the means of ensuring legal and ethical business practices. Second, your precious government states that it is powerless to do anything according to this post.

    So isn’t this a good demonstration of some need for government in the marketplace ?   I don’t mean that I want all schools to be government schools, but that I want some sort of government oversight at a basic level.   In this case the school drew attention because their over-the-top marketing video got a lot of social media attention, and that attracted a journalist to snoop around.

    In other cases, journalists got interested because schools showed up either at the bottom or the top of lists of issues found by government regulators of private schools.   Actually, more often, journalistic snooping has been triggered by a small group of loudmouth parents, or by some accrediting agency putting out a list of problem schools.

    The whole topic seems to me to be fraught with peril.   There are several blue states in which the government uses some private accrediting agency as an indicator of schools that warrant government interference at some level.   Leftists have marched through these institutions, so that private Christian schools have been threatened with a loss of accreditation for the “crime” of being too Christian.

    I don’t know how best to organize the review of private schools, but this is just one instance of a long line of failures.

    And, all things considered, I strongly prefer private schools to government schools.

    (My own recommendation is for homeschooling.   Homeschool rocks.)

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  8. No because the public school system is a demonstrable joke by any measure. Even when you control for the demographics that tend to bend the public school performance down, the failure is palpable. You have managed to find one private school that is a rotten apple, but I can point to multiple studies showing that private schools out perform public schools in every metric.

    Again if there is fraud here then the school is liable for fraud. THat is where your oversight comes from.

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  9. Robert A. McReynolds:
    No because the public school system is a demonstrable joke by any measure. Even when you control for the demographics that tend to bend the public school performance down, the failure is palpable. You have managed to find one private school that is a rotten apple, but I can point to multiple studies showing that private schools out perform public schools in every metric.

    Again if there is fraud here then the school is liable for fraud. THat is where your oversight comes from.

    Private Schools get to select students and parents. Public Schools cannot.

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