High School News Roundup: Is Cheating The New Trend?

10/05/2011 09:16 am ET | Updated Dec 05, 2011

Tell us, is there something in the water? Because it seems like the word ‘cheat’ has been flying around everywhere, lately.

It started with the SAT cheating scandal that rocked the country, when 19-year-old Emory University student Sam Eshagoff was charged for standing in to take the SAT for six students from his former school, Long Island's Great Neck North High School. The teen students -- who paid Eshagoff between $1,500 and $2,000 to take the test for them -- are now facing criminal charges. And that’s not all -- there are now at least two other high schools being investigated for similar SAT cheating.

HuffPost High School blogger, Isabelle Taft, writes today about a different SAT cheating scandal that happened in her home state of Atlanta, Georgia -- where the cheating was done by the teachers, not students. She blames the incident on an increased amount of pressure put on everyone -- schools, students, and teachers -- to get high scores. Taft says:

Overemphasis on standardized testing turns schools into pressure cookers, forcing students, teachers, and administrators to use any means at their disposal to attain passing scores on multiple-choice tests. This was made tragically clear by the release in July of an 800-page report on cheating on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (Georgia's bubble-test of choice) in Atlanta Public Schools.
The report -- the product of a months-long investigation by the Georgia Department of Education -- shows that the de facto APS mission statement was something along the lines of "pass the test." Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall relentlessly hammered the importance of success on the CRCT to her principals, who in turn demanded their teachers produce impossibly high pass rates. When it became clear to teachers and principals that hard work and careful planning would not be enough to achieve the outcomes Hall required, they turned to other means. They held weekend "test-changing parties." They snuck into their schools after hours to go through tests and change wrong answers to right. They wrote the answers on the board while students were testing. They looked over shoulders and told students to "check over that one again."

Now that the scandal has broken, APS students have had to deal with the stigma of attending a school district that is nationally infamous for cheating. Perhaps the most terrible part is that the students themselves had absolutely nothing to do with the moral failings that occurred. Adults literally robbed children of the chance to prove themselves and selfishly took away the opportunity for struggling students to seek additional instruction.

The halls of high schools are not the only places where cheating has been happening. Last week, a mom’s Facebook post -- which revealed that she had been lying about the county her teenage son lived in -- cost his High School football team three wins. Yikes.

HuffPost Sports reports:

The mother's Facebook statuses revealed her entire family did not live inside Perry County, where the two boys attend school, and were therefore ineligible to play on the team. Bernard Childress, executive director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, explained to the Tennessean:

'.. She posted on her Facebook page that she sent the kids back to Perry County for the week and that she would not see them again until Friday night,' Childress said. 'Then, later on her Facebook page, she posted, "How can two boys mess up their room as badly as they do when they’re only here on Saturday and Sunday?"’

And over in HuffPost Education, it has been reported that another mother in Ohio even made up fake addresses to get her kids into better schools.

So, what do you make of all of this? What do you think has been driving students, teachers, and parents to lie in order to get into a certain school? How much pressure do you feel to get into a top-tier college or be at the best high school? Sound off in the poll below and tell us your stories in the comments.

Suggest a correction