Cheating: Oh! My! We Are All So Shocked At Our Students’ Dishonesty

October 18, 2012


Aha! So the Stuyvesant kids were caught cheating on the NYS Exams. Everyone expressed their horror and shock at these super kids for their unethical practices and intellectual dishonesty. They were publicly named and “punished”, so no one can deny the “crime”.

Why is everyone – the public, the city and state chancellors, the politicians, the administrators – so shocked and surprised? Most of these people must know what is going on! If the students do not cheat and get high grades, the teachers with pressure from their supervisors inflate the grades; teachers fix up grades on paper so it looks good. Guidance and college counselors are masters at this game.

These students, whether at the best high schools or the failing high schools can now get into the best universities with scholarships, or the poor suffering Community Colleges who must take them. They must all get into colleges and universities with the best possible grades. That is the rule, the goal, the purpose, the end result of high school. Any thing else is the equivalent of failure!

Perhaps in the cheating game, parents are surprised at the dishonesty of their children, but how many parents are actively involved in their kids’ academic life, especially at high school?

And then we categorize cheating:

–      Unacceptable cheating – plagiarism, the whole research paper crawled out of the computer. No punishment. Just do your best with it.

–      Lesser cheating – copy someone’s homework. Not so bad. The dog doesn’t eat it anymore. No punishment.

–      Permission to cheat – take home test. Group work is okay.

–      Forgivable cheating – in class quiz. Teacher: No surprise quizzes, please!

–      Unacknowledged cheating – mid-term and final exams. Turn the other way.

–      Public cheating, unforgivable – State tests, SATs, AP, etc. please kids, you are now in the public domain, please behave your good selves.

–      For more information on the categories of cheating, please contact current teachers.

Teachers know it happens daily, and turn the other way because they are powerless to discipline the cheaters. Administrators must condone cheating to cook their numbers. Most parents when informed deny that their children would do such a horrible thing. They brought up their children to be “good” citizens.

Parents would spend tons of money of designer clothes and sneakers, but cannot afford the pennies for tutoring and test preparation. In any case, many high schools offer free tutoring if only the students would show up.

If some of these kids did not cheat and were not allowed to get away with the crime, some would not move on, some would not graduate high school, and some would not get into their dream colleges and universities.

Students cheat for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

–      They did not want to know or learn the material, then it appears on the test, and they must pass, so they must cheat.

–      They are allowed to “look up” the information during class, and at home for home work, but are expected to know it by head and heart for a test. Won’t work!

–     They do not memorize information anymore or “cram” for exams as students did in past eras. Therefore, they must cheat to pass.

–      They know they must have 95 on every subject, but are not willing to work for it.

The bottom line is, students cheat, teachers can do nothing about it, and administrators must turn the other way so they can look good, collect their bonus, and have a successful school on paper. Students collect a piece of paper labeled high school diploma which they did not work for, and which means nothing in today’s market. This is where we are mass producing ignorance.

When students arrive at high school, they do not have the academic foundation in English, math, science and history on which to build the bridge that will connect them to college, the work force, or any path they may choose to travel.

We cannot blame our students. We have allowed them to cheat. We condone their little crimes. Our crime is that we are depriving our children of the education they are entitled to, and sooner than later it will come back to haunt us all. We must begin to educate students – teach them English, math, history and science, or we should not test them.        That’s it!    Teach, teach, teach!        Not test, test, test!

Students will continue to cheat as long as they can get away with it. When teachers are given the authority to address cheaters and cheating as it occurs in the classroom, then and only then will cheating stop, and students will begin to have a little more respect for their not so stupid teachers!!!

Related Book:    The Other Side of Teaching (2012)


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