9
   

Stupid Scammy Scammers!

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 04:38 pm
So, my kid came home today with a big announcement.

A favorite teacher from last year, who recently won a national teaching award, called sozlet and her friend C into her class today. She let them know that they had been nominated for a special honor -- participation in the National Young Scholars program. A week in Washington DC! Wow!

http://www.nationalyoungscholars.org/

Quote:
What
is the Program

The National Young Scholars Program (NYSP) is an exciting and interactive program that unleashes the learning potential within the nation's most promising young students.

Students select the Discovery Strand in which they want to participate. Strands are developed and designed as fully interactive adventures which take our young attendees far beyond the typical classroom experience and invigorate the natural curiosity that is the gift of childhood.

NYSP offers two program options, depending upon location:

Day Program – This five-day option, available in all locations, includes lunch and offers convenient drop-off and pick-up times for working parents.

Residential Program – This six-day option, available in select locations, includes overnight accommodations and all meals.

The Program's curriculum is administered by highly-qualified professional educators who have taught, mentored and guided high-achieving students of all ages for over 25 years. The Program is currently under the leadership of Dr. Marguerite Regan, the Dean of Academic Affairs. Under her direction, the innovative and educational curriculum provides a unique approach to leadership training.


Wow, right!

Yay Sozlet, yay C!

We didn't totally get how the teacher was able to just nominate 'em right in without any like essay contest or anything, but we figured it might be related to her recent teaching award.

We read more of the website. We started laughing about how they capitalized Program and insisted on referring to the kids as "scholars." (At one point she was in the other room and I yelled for her and she said "no, my name is Scholar!")

I winced at the tuition ($1500 to $2000 depending on whether it's day or residential). I looked for scholarships. There was a lot about fundraising. I wondered if the school covered it? Some of the wording was ambiguous.

I started thinking this might not be on the up and up, even though the teacher in question is eminently trustworthy.

Did some more research -- yep. Scamarama.

For example:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/19/education/edlife/leadership-t.html

It's not that they take your money and then you show up at an abandoned movie theater, or something. There is an "experience," but it's basically just for anyone who went ahead and ponied up the money, and the experience itself is pretty standard summer camp fare. In D.C., so yay, but still pretty standard.

My cousin-in-law lives in D.C., we can just go visit her this summer and save $2,000 bucks.

The annoying thing though is that sozlet and C were really excited. Understandably.

Stupid scammy scammers.

By the way by reading other reviews of it I expect that botty types will stop by and say how lovely the program was. So I say in advance, don't bother, botty types.
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 04:48 pm
@sozobe,
Stupid scammy scammers is right. Thanx for the alert, Soz.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 04:50 pm
@sozobe,
Congratulations to Sozlet for being the kind of student (should I say scholar?) that an award winning teacher would nominate for something she surely felt was an honor. Yay, Sozlet, you go girl!

And UP YOURS! scummy, scammy organization that dicks around with kids.

I hope you share what you've learned with the school, the teacher, and the parent of C. Good on you for checking it out so thoroughly. Yay, sozobe, you go girl.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 05:10 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Scamarama.


Love the word.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 05:36 pm
@boomerang,
Seriously re: dicking around with kids. So frustrating.

C's mom had already said "$2000 ain't happening" before the scamminess became apparent.

The hardest part is actually breaking it to the teacher. I know she's going to feel silly about it and upset that she got the girls' hopes up.

She's also in a position to be reprimanded for releasing the girls' home addresses to this organization (she was telling them that they had been "accepted" after her nomination, and that they would be getting packets in the mail soon). She's an amazing teacher, really, and I think the teaching award situation makes it understandable as to why her guard would have been down a bit.

When I was reading reviews for example, some people said they were suspicious right off because it simply made no sense for them to get the initial letter (the one our teacher would've gotten).

Anyway, yes, I agree that the positive part of this is that when the teacher THOUGHT it was legitimate, she chose C and sozlet for it, which is itself an honor.
ehBeth
 
  4  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 06:50 pm
@sozobe,
Seems weird to me that the teacher would talk to the students about it at all at all at all without clearing it with the parents.

That would totally get my back up.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 06:59 pm
wow.

I remember linkat's thread about a talent show scam.
I shared my experience with working a 2 day temp job screening potential beauty contestant uh, potentials.

I guess if the cons can't get you by selling the idea you're talented and/or beautiful, they go after your brains.

Like zombies.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:00 pm
@chai2,
Just wondering, what do you feel should have been the teachers role in screening this organization a little better?
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:01 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Seems weird to me that the teacher would talk to the students about it at all at all at all without clearing it with the parents.

That would totally get my back up.


whoops, the zombies must have gotten to my brain.

Didn't see this.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:15 pm
@sozobe,
We had received a letter in the mail also offering the DC trip as an honor,
they had Jane's name in big letters and mentioned what a rare opportunity it was, etc. etc., but since Jane was in D.C. last year visiting my friends there, I just tossed it and that was that.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:35 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
botty types


Another neat word but I must admit that I've never heard that word, Soz, 'botty' - what does it mean?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:40 pm
@ehBeth,
Yeah.

This teacher has built up enormous stores of goodwill -- she's a truly excellent teacher, who has gone out of her way to provide ( -- so that gives her a cushion, wrath-wise. Because without the cushion I could get kind of wrathy about that.

She did phrase it as "I nominated you" not as "you're going." But yeah.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 07:42 pm
@JTT,
Basically either outright programs or else people who are paid to search out bad reviews (likely finding them with the help of robots, programs that search the web, often shortened to "bots") and offset them with their own glowing review. (Completely fake of course.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_bot
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:22 pm
@sozobe,
Oops, was interrupted mid-post and didn't finish what I was adding in the middle there -- this teacher has already done several special, beyond-the-call of duty things for both sozlet and C. I'm certain that this was in that spirit, thinking about how nice it would be for them to have the opportunity. But not quite thinking it through.

I sent her an email thanking her for choosing sozlet and telling her that sozlet was honored by the choice, and then asking if the organization she was talking about was actually this one (with a link). I'm pretty sure it is, based on many details that dovetail (starting with the name), but I want to confirm before going into the rest of it.

And maybe it's not! That'd be nice.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:26 pm
@sozobe,
maybe you could also remind her that it would be best to discuss anything like this with you first - cuz some other parent might not be so nice and get her into some trouble (it would be HUGE trouble here because of the breach of privacy - HUGE)
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2012 08:29 pm
@ehBeth,
Yeah, I think that will happen down the line.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:18 am
@sozobe,
I cannot stand that - when they prey off children. Glad you found out more details though ahead of time.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2012 08:20 am
@chai2,
Yep exactly what I was thinking about. Hate that you have to teach your children this way, but they do learn something valuable on how to protect themselves on scams. And on the positive side of things whenever that advertisement comes on the radio (and they love to change it up - often times the acting company name changes as well) - we all get a good laugh at it.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2012 07:07 am
Update: I sent the email but didn't get a response. Sozlet ran into the teacher (let's call her Mrs. T) yesterday and they talked for a bit, Mrs. T basically said "ya know what, this is too expensive, sorry I didn't realize that before I said anything to you. I'm going to look for some other sort of recognition for you two that will actually GIVE you something instead of TAKING."

The wording re: tuition was definitely ambiguous, I thought for a bit that it'd be free for sozlet and C too.

I'm going to cross the personal info bridge when I come to it. (We haven't received anything in the mail, and sozlet wasn't certain upon further thought whether Mrs. T said that they definitely would be getting something in the mail, or whether it was more that IF Mrs. T took a certain course of action, something would be arriving in the mail, and that hasn't necessarily happened. We'll see.)
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2012 09:46 am
@sozobe,
I imagine the teacher, who surely knows that bridge crossing will happen, is trying to find the right tone before she responds.
 

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