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The Global Search for Education: On Cheating

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I applaud Dr. Howard Gardner for his op-ed in the Washington Post -- "When Ambition Trumps Ethics" -- relating to the current alleged and evolving cheating scandal at Harvard University.

In a recent interview with Dr. Gardner, we discussed a number of the moral break-downs in our education system, including the problem of cheating (The Global Search for Education: What Is Good?).

According to a survey of 24,000 high school students in grades 9-12, 95% of students said they cheated during the course of their education, ranging from letting somebody copy their homework to cheating on tests.

Before we can begin to find solutions to cheating, we need to ask the right questions. With the intent of furthering the conversation, here is my list of questions with regard to cheating:

  • What can be done to better address students compromising ethics as they deal with performance pressure?
  • Do our children really understand the difference between what is cheating and what is not?
  • If students' business, sports and political role models cheat and get away with it, can we expect students not to cheat?
  • If students' teachers, parents and peers are cheating, can we expect students not to cheat?
  • Has cheating become an indelible part of our culture?
  • How much blame can we place on standardized testing for the problems with cheating?
  • Do we believe society needs to challenge our culture's current definition of success in order to help our children better understand why cheating leads to a precarious life and a precarious society?
  • What should be the punishment for someone who cheats?
  • Who should take responsibility for the increasing number of cheating scandals over the past few years? Students? Parents? Educators? Society?
  • Is it time to focus more on the research of ethics leaders like Dr. Gardner in order to find solutions to cheating?
In The Global Search for Education, join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (US), Dr. Leon Botstein (US), Professor Clay Christensen (US), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (US), Dr. Madhav Chavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (US), Professor Andy Hargreaves (UK), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (US), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. Eija Kauppinen (Finland), State Secretary Tapio Kosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Professor Ben Levin (Canada), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (US), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (US), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (US), Yves Theze (Lycee Francais US), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (US), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today. The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, "The Global Search for Education" and "How Will We Read?" She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland.