In a new post in the NY Times’ blog Motherlode -- which sounds like the name of a Cinemax 2 movie, FYI – author Michelle Blake suggests adults are responsible for the epidemic of cheating in schools. You see, we put such a heavy emphasis on the end goal of grades, that we often excuse the means by which students meet those ends. Or, as Blake puts it:
“It’s the same thing,” she wrote. “TRUTH is a second-class citizen in the glittering world of WINNING.” I have to agree. We seem to have created a culture in which getting what we want is more important than doing what we should.
What you call cheating, I call preparing for the real world. If a student answers a question on a math test using a calculator, and doesn’t show his work, he gets reprimanded. But if an employee had to answer a math question, and he started to do long division on a sheet of paper, his boss would call him an idiot. “What are you doing? Use a calculator and stop wasting company time!” If students work in a group, they’re cheating, but if an employee can work in a group, he’s a team player. Or, as one last example, if one student copies the answers from another student’s test, he’s a filthy cheater. But if Office Max copies Staples, they’re geniuses for keeping up with industry standards. Not sure if those companies exist anymore but you get my point. Only 1 in a million people can be Steve Jobs. For the rest of us, copying off the smart kids is a shrewd business tactic.