The Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal is back in the headlines as the jury continues its deliberations. Thirty-five Atlanta Public Schools employees were indicted in March 2013 after an Atlanta Journal Investigation revealed systematic, pervasive cheating on student standardization tests. Twelve remaining former employees are currently on trial for felonies related to the cheating and have been charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
In our society today, has cheating become normal and perhaps even necessary in order to get ahead? In the 1940′s, 20% of college students admitted cheating in high school. Surveys today show that upwards of 98% of students report to have cheated in high school. Are students cheating more because there is more pressure on them to perform or because it has simply lost its stigma? Other reasons are possible, but cheating in schools isn’t the only example in our current culture. Think about athletes like Lance Armstrong or politicians like Bill Clinton; they each represent a form of cheating. Think about businessmen like Bernie Madoff or the fact that upwards of 60% of marriages will experience infidelity.
As a society of cheaters, ultimately we are cheating ourselves. We are losing our moral compass of integrity. We are depriving ourselves of real value. We are inflating a false sense of ourselves.
Perhaps the only way to overcome the issue is to not be silent when cheating occurs and make it socially unacceptable amongst us all. Even though you may not be directly impacted by someone else’s choice to cheat, we are all victims in the end.
Podcast – The Adam Goldfein Show – 3-22-15 Hour 1
Jurors Begin Deliberating in Atlanta School Cheating Case (WSJ)
Academic Cheating Fact Sheet (Stanford)