Cheating in American schools has been a problem since day one. Is it ethical? Heck no. Is it right? Definitely not; but it’s done every day. Today it’s not really a matter of “if” students will cheat; it’s “when” will they cheat. One student, to remain nameless here because of the simple fact that he would get into trouble, has said “Cheating just happens—it’s like asking directions.” Isn’t that silly? Who has put it into kids heads that they can cheat without consequence?
I believe I know the answer: teachers and their parents. Why, you may ask? Teachers won’t offer stringent enough punishments and parents either don’t care or they actually have the audacity to believe that their child wouldn’t lie. That’s funny when you think that there has never been a teenager on the face of this earth who didn’t lie. It’s in their blood, it’s in their nature, heck, for the 5 years of teenager-hood their middle name turns to “Liar.” Not to say every child cheats and every child lies, but let’s round it off to about, say, 98.99%.
There is an “erosion of ethics in this self-centered culture,” one principal in a high school puts it. This so-called self-centered culture began with the children’s parents who, suffice it to say, grew up in the “Me” generation. Students, teachers and parents complain about cheating a lot in today’s society. Students just don’t have the time to study or their parents put too many demands on them (right, sure, totally believable since many don’t even have chores and they’re allowed to lie around the house every day) and there is a very intense competition for scholarships. The last is probably true because of the simple fact that college is becoming so expensive that many children, and parents, rely on this scholarship money just so their kids can have a decent education.
Some kids complain of being too tired to study for their exams. I believe they’re just too lazy. For way too many kids, everything is handed to them on a silver platter. How many kids do you know that have internet capable computers in their room? How many do you know that have cable TV in their rooms and are, basically, allowed to stay up all hours to watch it? Heck, how many kids really don’t see their parents at all during the day? Their parents work, both of them, because, in this day and age, to be able to make ends meet, and be able to buy that Xbox for their children for $300 a pop, both parents have to work. The plain and simple truth is that kids these days are not being policed by the ones who need to do the policing: parents.
High school students have reported that they don’t have the time to study and, therefore, they have to cheat to be successful in their classes. Why don’t these kids have the time to study? Just one example is school sports. I’ve seen games last until 10 or 11pm and then they have to go home and eat and then go to bed to start it all over again the next day. Many kids try and push, too hard sometimes, to get those decent grades so that they can continue to play school sports so they feel trapped. Cheat or fail; that’s the question.
On the teacher’s side of the spectrum, they feel like they can’t police the children properly for various reasons. First, and foremost, almost all schools across this beautiful nation of ours have a minimum of 30 students per class. In my opinion, that is way too many children for one person to handle. I get it that they need to get through their state-mandated lesson plans, which really is a crock anyway because the fact is, the lesson plans don’t work anymore. Teachers are using the same books that have been around since the dawn of time.
Ok, enough about that. Children need to know who’s boss and it should be the teachers to enforce it. The problem is that, by the time they get to high school, they’ve learned how to buck the system, to scoff at teacher’s rules. Parents are another story, though. Besides all of the afore-mentioned stuff, they can be nightmares when there’s even a hint of cheating by their “perfect” child. Teachers worry about accusing a kid and then turning out to be wrong. Parents rush, head long and blindfolded, to defend their kids. Also, teachers, roughly 7 out of 10, have said that pressure from parents discourages teachers from punishing cheating teens. That’s putting it mildly.
Is there any chance teenagers will begin to police themselves, to go by an honor system? Do they serve ice in Hell? Puhleeze. Suffice it to say that kids have even said themselves that they wouldn’t turn in peers, and especially not friends, because of a few reasons. They’d either get beat up or they may need to possibly cheat themselves later on down the road. Also, it’s generally “wrong” to rat out a fellow peer, at least some kids have said.
So, is cheating in the classroom ethical? Nope. Is there anything that can be done about it? Sure, only if teachers and parents decide to bring down the death-knell on those that cheat.