Friday, June 01, 2007

cheating on tests

My son came home from school disgusted today because of the rampant cheating on finals that goes on in his school. Some of his classmates see nothing wrong in helping out a friend who otherwise would fail - ah, the nobility of misplaced sympathy : ) My son feels bad because he works hard while others just cheat their way through. So who is to blame here - the students doing the cheating, or the administration and staff that seems either oblivious to what is going on or powerless to stop it? My wife (who used to teach) told me that her observation under similar circumstances was that the school knew full well who the cheaters were, but to crack down on them would mean a confrontation with parents, some of whom bankroll the school. It makes me so glad to hear this when I am at work slaving away to earn the $ to pay for this quality education.

11 comments:

  1. I also saw cheating when I worked inside a frum school. The cheating didn't surprise me, but the nonchalance of the administration did. How any teacher could watch girls cheat openly was beyond me. At least in my high school, cheating was not done openly.

    I did not cheat (after being caught in 4th grade). The teacher who caught me must have known a warning was enough. She said if I see you do this again, she would call my parents. That was the last time I even thought about cheating. My parents were true authority figures and I'm convinced the teacher did not call them because she knew it would never happen again.

    Unfortunately, I became a victim of cheating. There was one girl in my high school who would take your homework right out of your binder. That was frustrating. But when she turned around in her desk and copied my final exam, I was livid.

    Unfortunately, cheating and bullying are related and I felt powerless. But I was kicking myself come graduation when she was honored as one of the Valadictorians and I was just shut out of being Salutorian.

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  2. Tell your son that kids that cheat in school are rotten kids who will grow up to be rotten people. There will always be a rationalization for cheating in some aspect of life-- taxes (My money should go to Archer Daniels to support the war?), government fraud (it's a mitzvah!), marriage (It's her fault for ignoring me), and on and on. The worst victim is the person himself, whose neshomo just withers away.

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  3. Mike S.10:47 PM

    Rav Moshe has a t'shuvah about cheating on Regents exams. Hoshen Mishpat part 2, chapter 29 or 30 (the other is about yeshivot cheating on government funding programs. Both are worth a read.)

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  4. Mike S.7:47 AM

    I trust I neededn't point out that Rav Moshe finds cheating to involve multiple issurim.

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  5. >>>Tell your son that kids that cheat in school are rotten kids who will grow up to be rotten people.

    Were I feeling cynical today I would argue that these rotten people seem to enjoy the tremendous fruits of success they reap stomping over the rest of the world, and it doesn't really seem to bother them in the end that they have no neshoma because they have trained themselves to be oblivious to the lack thereof. But I'm in a better mood than that : )

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  6. You're right! Rotten people are often happy and successful people! I believe there was a study that showed that bullies tend to rise faster and higher in corporations and do better as entrepeneurs, too! So you have a choice. You can be good and low key and tzanu'ah, and maybe not so successful, or you can sell your soul to the devil and be the envy of the whole neighborhood, feted and shul dinners, swimming pool and theater in your basement, landscaping to die for. And those are the operative words. To die for. Just hope you remain oblivious to what you really are inside, or you could end up like Richard Corey.

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  7. This type of situation is so frustrating. I saw some cheating occur throughout my day school years, in several different states. It was rare that the cheaters would be caught, and rarer still that the cheater would stop if they were caught. All different subjects, assignments, grades. And if you had the chutzpah not to give someone your homework, then oy vey for you! It also looked slightly weird if you didn't want to copy from other people when you were having trouble with a particular assignment.

    There are many frustrating aspects of day school education, and we put up with them because...well, what other option is there?

    I hope your son's school experience improves soon. Your son's reaction reflects well on him and his parents.

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  8. Anonymous8:57 AM

    If an Orthodox school cannot convey forcefully and efectively that truth trumps money, why is it in business at all?

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  9. Chaim B. I gave you a link to this post.

    Anon above points out the a sad truth and one that has many students and former students cynical. Unfortunately, without a wide support base for schools, they live or die based on tuition payments and are fear of wealthier parents. So many of these problems could be helped if our schools were funded differently.

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  10. Maybe not fully helped, but at least lessened.

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  11. Boruch HaShem, our school does not have a cheating problem. I do tell my children and my students, "It is better to be caught smoking than to be caught cheating."

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