Cheating controversy grows into angry, national dialogue about ethical breakdowns
The case of the Redwood City father who's suing because his son was dropped from a class for cheating has struck a nerve in readers, who have e-mailed, phoned and posted their discontent online.
Jack Berghouse's lawsuit against the Sequoia Union High School District has disturbed people's sense of fairness and decency as well as their belief in the importance of teaching character and ethics in young people who will inherit the nation's leadership.
"We should be able to take the consequences for our choices," said Annalys Berraje of Soquel. "I think it's terrible that people wink at things that ultimately destroy the value of the character of the nation."
Berghouse's son and three other students were dropped from a sophomore honors English class at Sequoia High School in Redwood City for copying and sharing homework. The four students were transferred to a lower-level but still college-preparatory class. Berghouse filed a suit earlier this month, and called the news media to say his son's due process rights were violated. He seeks to have his son readmitted to the honors class.
The dad is a LAWYER for Chrissakes. Such a disgusting use of a JD.ReplyDelete
"Linthacum concedes that in many schools, teachers who want to discipline for dishonesty don't get backing from administrators, who may be pressured by parents." And that's it, in a nutshell.ReplyDelete
Again, to echo my comment from yesterday: These days, ethics are for suckers, and it's not cheating if you don't get caught.
Look at sports figures: doping, doping, doping. Cycling, baseball, football, soccer, horse racing...you name it. The pressure to win, and to do *anything* to win, is absolute. This country has taken the "If you're not first, you're last" mantra of Ricky Bobby seriously for far too long.
Look at politicians. Or rather, don't. Just writing that made my gorge rise.
How many of us have plagiarism statements and the penalties for such on our syllabi?Delete
How many of us catch at least one plagiarizer a semester (intentional or otherwise)?
How many of us ask ourselves "Why do they do it when I've warned them in print and in class?"
What's worse is that handling it has become a legalistic nightmare. It used to be that if I caught a student cheating, I informed the student, gave whatever punishment I deemed appropriate within college guidelines, and then the student could appeal. No more. Now I have to inform the student he/she has been caught, present my evidence, give the student X days to respond, and then render my verdict based on the response. There is of course a mountain of paperwork associated with that. Then if the student wants to appeal, he/she goes to the chair, the chair meets with us separately and then together, and makes a decision. This means more paperwork. The process repeats itself all the way up to the president and includes an academic dishonesty committee somewhere along the way. Yes, cheating is serious and can damage a student's career, but to make punishing it like a death row appeal is the height of ridiculousness.Delete
Every academic year, I make at least one formal allegation of plagiarism (aside from those I deal with informally) and, so far, have had my allegations upheld by the hearing committee. I'm the only one I know of in my department who makes formal allegations. I've been warned to cool it -- because it makes the rest of the department look bad.Delete
EnglishDoc: it's exactly the same at my institution. Every year the admin. creates new rules and regulations that imply faculty are not to be trusted.Delete
It's also relevant that if your kid doesn't get into a name-brand college for his bachelor's degree, he'll be digging ditches for the rest of his life. This is absolutely his one shot ever at success of any kind. No great politician or scientist or rich capitalist ever went anywhere other than Harvard or MIT.ReplyDelete
Sorry if my sense of humor is taking a nap, but you are kidding, right?Delete
I might be.Delete
"Linthacum concedes that in many schools, teachers who want to discipline for dishonesty don't get backing from administrators, who may be pressured by parents."ReplyDelete
MAY be pressured by parents!? Dude. Someday when I retire or quit I'm going to publish the e-mails I have received from parents over the years. Most of our parents are fine, and often they are very supportive, all-around lovely people. But the ones who aren't? Jesus Frickin' Christ. They go right to the teacher, and they go for the jugular, because they know they can get away with it. I've been hung up on by a parent who called me at home at 9pm to try to bully me out of giving his son a detention. I've had parents (mothers seem to be the worst around here) attack me very personally, calling me dishonest and incompetent. They routinely, and often bizarrely, distort or fabricate facts to fit their arguments. I had one super-bitch go completely nuclear on me for giving her lazy-ass kid ONE simple after-school detention for ridiculous, persistent, and very disruptive tardiness. She accused me of being late to class every day, and therefore having no respect for punctuality (I am never late for class), and then also say that on the day of the detention, I had decided to start class EARLY, so her kid wasn't late. Well played, Captain Logic.
As recently as two or three years ago, I used to LOVE my job, and occasionally recommended independent school teaching to graduate students as an intellectually rewarding career. Now I'm just disgusted and profoundly unhappy. I should have about 20 more years of teaching ahead of me, but I can't see myself staying in the profession for more than, say, five more years. It's not worth it. I work myself sick for a school whose administrators have no integrity. I bear the brunt of personal attacks by parents willing to pursue a scorched-earth policy in order to smooth the path for their lying, cheating, lazy students. I fear that in a generation or two we will be a country of sociopaths. I completely agree with BurntChrome: the "ethics are for suckers" attitude is nearly ubiquitous among students on my campus.
I recently discovered that the employees who clean out portable toilets for a local waste company make more money than I do in a year. Hell, more money and better working conditions...maybe I'll make the switch soon.
"I recently discovered that the employees who clean out portable toilets for a local waste company make more money than I do in a year. Hell, more money and better working conditions...maybe I'll make the switch soon."Delete
Maybe that's what it will take--because right now, I'm totally with you. And so are a number of my colleagues.
Fifteen years from now, education will be the job no one wants (or maybe it's already there--I've stopped telling bright students to consider passing their gifts along by becoming teachers), and they'll have to provide combat pay for anyone willing to take it on.
My daughter is a hard working, conscientious scholarly type. She used to say she wanted to become a teacher or professor, but I talked her out of that with every fiber of my being. She is too sincerely interested in helping others and sharing knowledge to become a teacher in today's world. Seriously. At my college, the happiest profs are the ones who don't really seem to care. They don't require much work, grade on curves, and try to tell entertaining stories during class (never taking attendance). They get great evals and go home and pursue other activities. My daughter would not be like that, so the gig would make her miserable. What a terrible situation we have gotten ourselves into, eh?Delete