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It’s no secret that I love education and that it is one of my passions. I believe that unequal access to public education is a huge civil rights issue. I have studied education, I have spent my professional career working in education, and many hours volunteering to promote education. I’m most likely to peruse the education section of a major newspaper first…every day. I just wanted to put that out there.
I heard this news about Justin Combs, son of entertainment mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, being accepted to UCLA and awarded a full football scholarship. And people were mad about it. And I couldn’t understand why.
This kid worked really hard at one of the top prep schools in the country, earning a 3.7 grade point average; and excelling as an athlete- earning scholarship offers to places like The University of Virginia and The University of Illinois. And we’re mad about this? Hmmmm…
There are a few things that I find disturbing about this. I feel that the underlying implication of all of this conversation is that he didn’t EARN this scholarship. That he got it for who he is, or because of who he is related to. Interesting. The other thing that I find to be disturbing about this is these conversations that are saying that his father should donate the money back to the school, because he can so clearly afford to do so. While that may be the case, you can’t go around here telling people what to do with their money. It just doesn’t work that way.
And besides- we weren’t upset when Eli Manning was awarded a scholarship to Ole Miss, while both his father Archie Manning and his brother Peyton Manning were earning NFL money. I’m just saying.
If there’s anything we should be upset about, it’s the system of education in our country that makes it difficult for those who are not wealthy to achieve a decent education that places them anywhere close to the same education that Justin Combs was able to receive at his prep school. The truth of the matter is that people who are wealthy are able to afford resources that help their kids be in a better position to earn merit scholarships such as the one earned by Justin Combs.
I refuse to be upset at Diddy because he can afford to send his kids to the best schools, and he can provide them with resources and experiences that set them apart from other students. When I’m in the position to do the same for my kids, you better believe that I’m going to do my best to provide them with every opportunity necessary to help them be successful and to afford them as many opportunities possible.
Do I think that Diddy should donate money to UCLA? I think it would be a nice gesture, but he doesn’t have to do it. Besides, what would it prove; other than something that we already know, which is that he can afford to donate a large sum of money to UCLA.
Bottom line- I fail to understand the big deal in this kid earning a scholarship. Let’s focus our energy on education reform. When we can prove that UCLA or any other school is awarding merit scholarships to students who don’t meet the appropriate criteria, then we can be upset.
Just my thoughts.