I had an interesting experience in a craft store this afternoon. Apparently some local middle school teacher of indeterminate subject assigned some sort of detested project. Many irritated parents accompanied the young scholars to gather styrofoam pieces and paint. I have no idea what they were making. I do know nobody was very happy about it.
One gentleman kept complaining that his kid’s materials cost $40 while the lady the aisle over was only spending $10. Unfair! Whatever, dude. You bought more stuff. More stuff costs more money. And we wonder why people have money troubles.
Oh, but $10 paying lady wasn’t happy either. Said she, “I wish they could just do one and pass it to another kid between classes. Change the names or something.”
Wow. Did you just suggest that the students should cheat? In front of your child, your child’s classmates and parents, and complete strangers? I think you did, lady.
I’m just gonna “Wow” one more time here. Wow.
Cheating advocate continued, “My other daughter already did this!” Well, golly. I guess if one of your kids got book learnin’, that’s enough.
Now, honestly, we don’t homeschool for “negative” reasons. (Negative as in the deficiency of institutionalized schools, rather we homeschool because of the positives of homeschooling.) I know for a fact that homeschooling is not the best choice for everyone. I’m almost positive that many children are being educated in the majority of institutionalized schools. Probably.*
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That being said,the quick, unashamed jump to “I wish we could cheat”, the epidemic of teachers cheating on standardized test, and the frightening report that cheating is acceptable behavior among the majority of students are all heavy incentives to keep our kids out of that system. Frankly, that attitude scares the crap out of me. It is not only worrisome because kids aren’t getting educated (at least not in reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic), but also because people who think cheating is an acceptable thing are now entering the workforce.
Cheaters handle our money, medical records, and personal data. Cheaters are taking our blood pressure and filling our prescriptions. They are enforcing our laws and driving our goods to market. Now maybe they aren’t cutting corners to get ahead or save themselves from inconvenience. Maybe in actuality there are so few cheaters that the system is sound. Perhaps the 75% of students who cheat on that history pop quiz factors into only 5 or 10% who engage in shenanigans in the real world. Still, I don’t like the odds.
Referring to the horrific happenings at Penn State, Jayvie Canono tweeted, “A ‘university policy’ is such a cheap substitute to a strong moral code.”
The same principle applies to every aspect of our society. We can regulate, we can oversee, we can have as many bee watching watchers watch as we can find, but unless our national moral code abhors dishonesty, we are in serious trouble.
*For those who don’t know me, that was sarcasm. Of course, if you were publicly educated, you might not know that the asterisk in the above paragraph denotes that this note refers to that remark. So you’re still upset, and you’re now confused about what you’re reading. It’s okay. Go watch Dancing with the Stars. You’ll feel better.