Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

I work in a high school and have been particularly disturbed by the prevalence of cheating. It seems as if it is the norm rather than a last minute "I forgot my homework" decision. What has become of our culture that the end product has become more important than the learning process? Look at our assessment practices, today we test for answers rather than the creative or learning process. Students are trained to fill in bubbles rather than come up with creative solutions to problems. Teachers are boxed in, required to teach to a test rather than teach for growth. And teacher's pay and evaluations are based on these tests. The whole system is geared to create a cookie cutter workforce that does not think for itself. This culture of cheating plays right into a system that values scores rather than learning. Dewey would turn over in his grave if he could. I am sometimes paralyzed by sadness as I watch papers being exchanged, answers being found online, or Google translate popping up on a phone screen. It is a moral dilemma. How does one teach students the process of good decision making if they are learning how to fill in bubbles? As I sit here writing this post two students just walked by my seat in the library. One said, "it's cheating," the other said, "it's being smart." In my day if one were a cheater cheater pumpkin eater, one was ostracized  Today it is smart. Who knew. Guess we get what we give. I will go back to being sad now and hope that our future generations will work toward the abolishment of standardized testing.