Life is full of temptations.
As anyone will attest to, there are times when the drive and desire to do what you know you should not do is overpowering.
In high school, college and even in post-graduate studies, cheating has become one of those temptations. Countless students have fallen into the habit to manage their overwhelming workload. Most would assume that straight-A students are above this dishonesty, but several New York Times reports have shown that a fallacy.
Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena found "high achievers are just as likely to do it as others ... (and) there is evidence the problem has worsened over the last few decades."
Technology has played a huge role in the cheating epidemic. Information and answers that students at one time were required to figure out now are just a few clicks away on the Internet. Further, students are having difficulty distinguishing the line between authorship and plagiarism, all facilitated by the ability to copy and paste on a computer.
Cheating on tests can be risky, and the consequences are usually sky high. However, cheating on homework is as easy as reciting your ABC's.
"I copy work from my friends all the time. I feel bad about it sometimes, but you almost have to if you want to get everything done," an anonymous student at Healdsburg High School said.
Ironically, in a USA Today report, a survey regarding cheating among high school students in Los Angeles found that 93 percent of those surveyed who admitted to some form of academic dishonesty also said they were proud of their moral ethics and character. If students are proud of cheating the system to gain success, something has evidently gone wrong in the minds of America's youth.
When a student asks a teacher the classic question of "when are we ever going to use this?" a typical retort will be roughly follow along the lines of "in the real world" or "in your future profession."
In another survey reported by USA Today, 59 percent of the people surveyed agreed that cheating to get ahead is necessary in the real world, as is evident by so many highly paid and greedy CEOs. Sadly, the real world no longer can be the teaching model instructors follow.
Society has pushed the hardworking student too far. Assuming distractions, such as cellphones or TVs, are out of the picture, diligent kids should not have to spend afternoons and evenings and significant amounts of time on the weekends working on homework. As a result of this tremendous pressure to perform, many students, including some of the best, have recognized that cheating may be necessary to achieve that straight-A report card.
Although morally wrong, cheaters cannot be entirely blamed for the problem. The educational system is in dire need of overhaul. People with any say over what changes should take place need to take a step back and analyze the predicament many students in school now face. There is no need for anyone to believe cheating is necessary or the pathway to success.
(These articles were reprinted from Healdsburg High School's Hound's Bark newspaper.)