Cheating has become a national pastime. My father’s generation fudged on their taxes. My own “ME” generation declared their freedom from all moral and, spiritual restrictions. We’ve taught today’s generation that cheating is ok. And, we’re now reaping what we sowed.
In Piper, KS when over 23% of the students in one class blatantly plagiarized a major project, the teacher failed them for cheating. When parents objected, the school board backed the students. In essence, the school board gave a “pass” to cheating.
The result? The students who chose not to cheat were penalized, because the cheaters got credit for work not their own. The cheating students felt they no longer needed to respect or even listen to their teacher who then resigned. Cheating caused a total breakdown of education, as well as a lack of respect for parents and teachers.
Statistics show that a high percentage of college students are cheating on their assignments. Professors even know many of their students are cheating. Yet, they feel helpless to stop cheating, because many administrators refuse to consider cheating a major problem for fear of hurting the poor students’ egos.
Many centers of high learning consider the cheaters as victims of teachers who “oppress” the students by demanding honesty, demanding they do their best, and demanding that they actually learn something in class.
Punishing cheaters, these so-called educators say, may undermine the student-teacher relationship. What relationship? The Piper, KS incident shows clearly that when a teacher is not allowed to demand honesty and the best from her students, when a teacher can’t punish cheaters, the cheating students not only do not respect the teacher, they actually show contempt in the classroom.
Consider the consequences of allowing wholesale cheating. Your firm is interviewing for an accountant. The person you hire did very well in school and has a degree to prove it. Unfortunately, the person cheated through school and has little real knowledge of how to keep your books. You don’t know this until the IRS comes knocking at your door.
The airline pilots of the plane you just boarded, have some practical flying experience, but since they cheated through all the written text work, they lack the thorough knowledge they need to avert disaster when certain unusual circumstances occur. I’m sure your next of kin will be comforted knowing you died because of pilot error.
What of the surgeon who cheated through medical school? If you knew that, would you allow that surgeon to cut you open?
Cheating has widespread, long-term consequences on the well-being of ourselves and others. We must not allow cheating to go unpunished. As parents we need not only to hold our children accountable for dishonesty, but ourselves as well. Whether in cheating or anything else, what we do sets an example-for good or bad.
Honesty in our personal lives forces us to become better, stronger and more resilient. Cheaters don’t care about the effect of their cheating on others, because cheating is basically selfish. Honesty, not cheating, breeds compassion and concern for others.
Cheating in schools is only one aspect of a greater problem, because a cheater in the classroom may well become a cheater in business, in marriage and in life. Saddest of all, the cheater cheats himself out of the satisfaction of a job well done, and of the self-confidence it brings.
America is in a crisis of honesty. It’s time to clamp down on cheating.