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.
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 said. Students 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.