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?
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.