Earlier this month, the Atlanta SAT cheating scandal came to its rightful conclusion. The guilty were sent to prison. Atlanta’s mayor Reed made a statement echoing what many who followed the corruption of our educational system in this trial felt. Namely that the punishments were severe, as they should have been:
“I think when children have been harmed the way that they’ve been harmed that consequences should be severe,” Reed said at a press conference.
And punished they were. But up in Long Island New York, another SAT cheating scandal came to a much different conclusion. As did 2 other separate cheating scandals involving grade changing and “improper coaching” (similar to Atlanta). All 3 of those cases involved white defendants in upper income communities.
In the 1st case, Samuel Eshaghoff, a 2010 Great Neck North graduate was convicted of taking the SAT for profit (not to get his school funded or anything noble, just pure personal profit), and walked away with a fine and was free to continue his education. He was also allowed to further profit from his crimes by making appearances on various programs, including 60 minutes. And though it is not known how much 60 minutes pays guests for interviews, past reports have shown the program to pay convicted felons at least 200 thousand dollars for the interview rights.
And by the way, it is not like this is Mr Eshaghoff’s only brush with the law. Soon after his Sept. 27, 2011 arrest on Long Island, Mr. Eshaghoff was arrested in Arizona, and accused of possession and use of drug paraphernalia and having a fake ID, according to the Maricopa County sheriff’s office.
In that case, charges were never even filed.
For the cheating scandal, Sam Eshaghoff was made to tutor some students and pay a small fine.
In 2 other separate Long Island cases, one involving grade changing and the other “improper test coaching” 8 defendants, all administrators or teachers got a mere $145,000 in fines levied. That’s total, not each. No jail time at all in any of the 3 cases.
The difference? Take a wild guess.
And in Eshaghoff’s case, he not only had the advantage of race, but of privilege. Turns out his mother is a lawyer and president of the Great Neck Library Board. Other defendants in the case also had similar lineages of power and wealth in their families. And if you look into the case, many close to it and involved in it didn’t even think it should have been a matter for the courts, but rather handled by the school.
Brian Griffin, an attorney for one of the defendants also snared in the Great Neck SAT case, was quoted as saying the case should have been handled by the schools, not the courts:
Using pretrial publicity to try and wake up the College Board on the backs of these children is wrong.
Kind of like when the Catholic Church thinks kids being molested is a matter to be handled internally by the church, or Wall Street Banksters think that they should be allowed to “self regulate” without that messy government interference.
Mr Eshaghoff insisted that what was being done to him in the prosecution of his crime was mean and cruel:
In a brief interview this week at Emory University, where he is a sophomore economics major, Mr. Eshaghoff said he had flown home three times to deal with the charges, and was now cramming for exams — his own. “I’m trying to focus on school,” he said. “I’m missing classes. That’s obviously tough.”
Meanwhile in Atlanta, everyone went to jail … for 7 years. And one doesn’t need to look much further than the color of the faces when trying to figure out why. And there is further irony in the fact that Sam is now sitting pretty as a free man on the campus of a high end university in the same city as the black people who went to jail for cheating just like him and the other people up in Long Island. But remember, it’s Sam who’s having the “tough” time here.
Again, I am not saying that the Atlanta educators should have been let off the hook, but when one steps back and compares these 4 scandals where 3 are in privileged white communities vs one that is in a city and in a district that is predominantly minority, the differences in the conclusions couldn’t be more stark. And if one doesn’t at least scratch their head and say “hmmmm(?)” it is probably only willful ignorance causing such apathy.
Check out the 60 Minutes story where the “oppressed” Mr. Eshaghoff talks about his scam and his woes below: