Who Says Cheating Doesn’t Pay?

Who Says Cheating Doesn’t Pay?

I observed two of my students conversing in the back row during a test. They were on the same page and whispering about the answers. The students explained they were only helping each other, relating that this had been common practice in high school and no big deal. I revisited the cheating policy with them and they earned zeros on the exam.

From then on, I clearly outlined the cheating policy and the consequences, created multiple tests, clarified homework assignments and supervised testing periods closely, often walking around the room or taking questions. I feel comfortable saying that was the end of cheating in my classroom.

But it’s hard to foresee the cunning that bright, resourceful minds can bring to the equation.

Earlier this year, seven honors students at Plant City High School were caught in a serious cheating scheme. Three of them stole the teacher’s manual for their advanced placement class, which included the assignments, quizzes and answers for the entire year. All seven of them benefited from it. And to do this, they lied and abused the good nature of the school custodian to get into the locked classroom.

After several months, word got out; one offender bragging to other students might have been a factor.

Are they remorseful? The boy who came up with the idea had this response to his punishment: `What the school has done so far has been hugely incorrect. They clearly made a mistake, and that’s causing more trouble for us.`

Another cheater said, `We were good people and happened to have one slight mistake and everyone turns their back on you.`

As for a reason he did it, one explained, `So we can be the best we can and have the greatest re’sume’ in our hands, so when we apply to colleges we look outstanding and the college of your choice will want you.`

Their parents were sympathetic to their plight. One father called it `an unfortunate incident.` A mother said, `I think it’s all been blown out of proportion.` The parents of the three who stole the book appealed their dismissal from the National Honor Society. The four other cheaters were not dismissed.

Unfortunately, the Plant City seven are not in the minority when it comes to ethical standards in high school. A 2002 report card on American youth completed by Josephson Institute of Ethics found 74 percent of high school students admitted to cheating.

Parents who make excuses for their children, students who rationalize their behavior, three-quarters of kids cheating – we have created a culture of tolerance and a breeding ground for cheating, stealing and lying.

And what becomes of these top notch, cream-of-the-crop `honors` students? Despite this `unfortunate incident,` they graduated at the top of their class and will go off to the best schools, achieving their ultimate end. They are future leaders in business, government and politics – tomorrow’s Enron and WorldCom executives in training.

Cheating pays off.

MyLinh Shattan is an adjunct instructor for St. Petersburg College. She lives in Lutz with her husband and three children.

Sep 22, 2005

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

Stay Up to Date

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.

Latest Posts

Most Underused Punctuation Mark in American Writing*

Short take Writer's Toolbox Em-dash Book recs So says the lexicographer and usage genius Bryan Garner. My desk copy of the 4th edition of Garner's Modern English Usage states on page 750, "The em-dash is perhaps the most underused punctuation mark in American...

Books for Mothers and Daughters

Short Take, 2 min read Mother's Day Book recs, ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE ON PODCAST CLICK HERE It's a gray day full of drizzle in Connecticut though it's not as cold as it has been. The yellow lilies in the porch planters are in full bloom and they remind me of my...

What Makes a Speech Great? An Admiral Tells 3 Stories

6 min read Writer’s Toolbox Public speaking AVAILABLE ON PODCAST HERE Admiral McRaven commemorates the 11th Anniversary of Operation Neptune's Spear What makes a speech great? There are a lot of good speeches and good speakers. But a great speech is one you remember....

Exercises in Style: a Writing Tribute

3 min read Book rec Writing Toolbox Wordplay Ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE IN PODCAST HERE Titles begin with letters as human forms Narrative One day at about midday in the food line, behind the checkout of a more or less busy Costco, I observed a person with a very big...

1000 Push-ups? Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

6 min read Memoir rec Work-outs, push-ups and running AVAILABLE ON PODCAST CLICK HERE Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s the short take on Living with a SEAL*, 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on the Planet. Jesse Itzler, the author, is fit by most...

Bedside Counselor on Parenting in Anger, in Two Translations

6 min read Book rec Prose for emergencies Writing feature AVAILABLE IN PODCAST, CLICK HERE For solace and for counsel, I have several books I find myself returning to again and again, and to this one, most recently, as my third child prepares to leave home.* For...

What I Learned Walking With a Friend

8 min read True Story Military service Road walking, trail notes AVAILABLE IN PODCAST - CLICK HERE Not 30 miles as the crow flies, that’s how far I was from my childhood home. It was gray and threatening rain, the time in spring that’s cool, tree buds just coming in,...

Topics

Become a better reader and writer today and try the TreeHouseLetter for free. Always learning with a bit of fun.