Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cheating in School...Will our Homeschool Children Resist the Temptation in College?

In 2004 the American College Health Association reported that 40-50% of college students had experienced depression so severe that they were barely able to function.

The association also revealed that sixty percent of the students in college had experienced, "feeling things were hopeless."

Furthermore, the 29th Who's Who Among American High School Students found that 80% of the country's best students cheated, to get where they are.

A few years ago, while working with some youth at our church, I heard some of them mumble something about cheating.  I asked what they meant, and this evolved into a discussion where they explained that everyone in high school cheats.  A few weeks later at our Wednesday youth meeting, I proposed that as Christians we are called to not be of the world. I knew these teenagers and I could tell that they understood this principal, and that they agreed with it.  So, I continued my discussion and explained that cheating because everyone else does it is wrong.  Their faces went blank and they sent a clear message - we hear you, but we are part of the system and this is what you have to do to succeed.  They had closed the door and I knew I wasn't going to get through to them.

While I believe cheating goes back to a lack of character, I propose the following as another reason why cheating in school has become the norm.

"...a culture of cheating has cropped up in response to an educational system which unintentionally tells young people that where they are going matters more than why they are on the journey."
(from "Your Child's Strengths" by Jennifer Fox)

So, here is my question...

Are we (home educators) teaching that where we are going matters more than why we are on this journey?

Are we instructing our children such that they love learning and creating people who will long to learn their entire lives?  Or are we teaching them to master subjects, score well on the ACT/SAT, get their degree, and find a job that offers financial security?

Is it fair to reason that students (home educated or school taught) who are learning because they want to know more about a topic are less likely to cheat?  And conversely, children who are mastering a topic in order to get into college and secure a great job, are more likely to cheat because it is all about making the grade and nothing about learning?

What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

You are right. At one time college was expected to further develop a person’s abilities and give them more understanding and acceptance of what they could be and how they could contribute to society. Now formal education has become predominantly job oriented, no longer institutions of learning. That is why, several decades ago, it was hard for the working class to justify the expensive college experience. Most of the middle class were the blue collar working people who could provide a substantial living without a degree. Now that we have allowed the industries to outsource to other countries, the middle class has just about disappeared and our young people have lost their sense of direction.

It is not surprising that cheating is becoming an accepted part of development. Because we are raising more insecure people, cheating to get good grades and succeed is also part of being accepted as part of an identical appearing group. Individuality is frowned upon and being part of the herd is the goal of most. To make it worse, we segregate within the classroom the level of accomplishment that has been determined by memorized testing, thus making the student more insecure and less accepted within the herd.

Look at our cheating corporations of the WORLD AND OUR GOVERNMENTS. At one time only a few cultures (mostly those with only two economic classes of people) accepted and expected cheating. The only disgrace was being caught. Now since we have become more worldly and encouraged un-regulated world trade, honesty in our society has dropped to the lowest level of intolerable acceptance.

Donetta said...

I think it stems from character training and what we, as parents are teaching our children about right and wrong. If we teach them from a very young age that cheating is wrong, and create consequences for it, I think they will be much less likely to cheat. I've never had any problems with my kids cheating but they also know that it would never be considered acceptable behavior.

Thanks for linking up on my blogroll! :)

Savannah McQueen said...

Donetta, I agree with you totally but I also think that there is a lot less of a reason to cheat if your goal is to really learn something. I think the focus has shifted to winning the race, instead of actually learning.

Thanks so much for your input!

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