Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More From a Decadent Empire


Don't you just love it? Around every corner is more proof of our lovely system's most endearing effects. This time it's about cheating. Cheating to get ahead. Cheating to look good. Cheating to please mom and dad. Cheating to please oneself.

Here is a fantastic survey taken by collegehumor.com all about cheating in American universities. There are some real doozies. My favorites? Well, let me be completely predictable and say I love the one that indicates that religious students cheat at a rate of 65.4% and non-religious students cheat at a rate of 58.3%. I love it! So much for the moral chumpass...err...compass.

There are some other real gems. How about the real basic 61% of all college students cheat!!! Or...perhaps the most significant in this system of have's and have-not's is that the average GPA of cheaters is 3.37 vs. a GPA of non-cheaters at 2.85. "Screw you teacher, if I'm going to get ahead in this world I'm gonna cheat. The system doesn't reward wholesome principles, or even actual knowledge...it rewards GPA!" A whopping 64.8% of men cheat versus a seemingly modest 42% of women. A sarcastic silver lining of solidarity can be found in the statistic that says that 45% of students allow others to cheat of them. Finally, students that cheat in school are 11% more likely to cheat in their relationships.

In my own high school classes I've decided to circumvent this banal tendency and simply told my students to go ahead and cheat if they want. Considering I've devalued the points they can earn from traditional classroom products such as exams, homework, etc. and based the bulk of their grade on effort and sacrifice, they find it rather pointless to cheat on any of my exams. Also, I randomly make exams worth 1000 or 2000 points to teach them of the pointlessness of grades. They never know what is worth more, a homework assignment, a test, a quiz or a presentation. They really have a difficult time letting go of the idea that I actually reward their in-class participation and attendance more than anything else.

Removing the pressure of a getting a good grade the majority of my students stay engaged in subject. They aren't competing against a system that rewards the "best," but a system that rewards their best efforts and the sacrifices of showing up. Our classroom environment is cooperative, challenging and flexible to the diverse interests, needs and learning styles of my students. My students have to un-earn an "A." And that is a very difficult task. It happens, but not often. The absence of pressure to succeed in the traditional format has invited learning for the sake of learning. We also don't bullshit each other with useless, decontextualized material. We delve into meaningful and pertinent topics. My students love engaging me in politics and cultural/social critiques. All the while, we are learning Spanish.

On the other hand, I offer no magical classroom management techniques to solve the problems colleges and universities face. Instead, I laugh and cringe at the real effects of a system that rewards greed, power, lust, luxury and self-interest. May the wheels fall off this Roman Vomitorium Bus soon!

11 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

They learn about job interviews by watching Donald Trump's TV show. The world is individualist centered as a reality TV show.

sonia said...

I attended school in Communist countries, and believe me, student cheated there as well. (Through slighly less hi-tech methods though)...

But there is a difference. Under capitalism, students cannot cheat forever. Free market eventually catches up with them, and if they failed to learn while cheating, they join the welfare rolls.

But under Communism, cheaters can continue cheating undetected till the ripe old age. Or till their system collapses like it did in 1989-91...

Ché Bob said...

sonia,

Under capitalism, students cannot cheat forever. Free market eventually catches up with them, and if they failed to learn while cheating, they join the welfare rolls.

Quoi????

Just like that...presto...magic!!! The free market corrects everything, even without evidence and example? Your denial here has gone too far. Do you not watch or read the news?

Students cannot only "cheat" forever in the free market system, cheating is inevitable and encouraged. Our world is rife with scandals and those are only the very few dumb enough to get caught.

I'm very concerned that you blurted this comment out so carelessly without a second thought. Your defense of capitalism in this case is dogmatic wishful thinking.

Finally, those caught cheating in this ridiculous system do not end up on welfare. They easily recover from their scandals after doing easy time in Club Med "prisons" and are recycled to make their rich clientèle richer.

Please stop and reminisce with me Sonia about Capitalism's supposed corrective: Enron, Tyco, Becthel, Savings and Loan, 2006 HP Spying Scandal, Adelphia, BAE Systems, Bre-X, Clearstream, Compass Group, Halliburton, Arthur Andersen, Exxon, Fannie Mae, Firestone, Ford Pinto, Guinness Affair, Hafskip, Harken Energy, Lernout & Hauspie, Lockheed three different times (still doing business), MG Rover Group, Morrison-Knudsen, Nortel, One.Tel, Options Back-dating scandal involving over 100 companies, Parmalat, Phar-Mor, RadioShack, Refco, Royal Dutch Shell, Worldcom and Xerox...just to name a few! Then there are the Mutual Funds scandal, as well as the AIG and Marsh & Mclellan insurance frauds.

The long list of examples I just provided you only looks at corporate scandals that involved primarily cooking the books. What about the countless corporate crimes that involved a "cheating" that were of a more violent criminal nature? How about go old Union Carbide in Bhopal, India?

The top 100 corporate criminals of the 1990s fall into 14 categories of crime: Environmental (38), antitrust (20), fraud (13), campaign finance (7), food and drug (6), financial crimes (4), false statements (3), illegal exports (3), illegal boycott (1), worker death (1), bribery (1), obstruction of justice (1) public corruption (1), and tax evasion (1). Please go to the following website to learn about free market crime and the ludicrous and cynical "justice" they faced.

Almost without exception, these businesses and the crooked, cheating bastards that ran them are still in business. Your comment is pure nonsense!

Regarding your concerns with "communist" countries and the existence of cheating, I do not doubt you. Especially since "communism" (far from its theoretical roots) as it has existed in the world is actually State Capitalism. A state economic system with a guaranteed market. Cheating is still encouraged in this less-free market system as well, though not to the degree of the free-market system.

P.S. You have a habit of responding only to the parts of my argument that you can bog down in an ideological quagmire. You completely choose to ignore/overlook or fail to respond to my evidence. In the realm of debate this signals concession of arguments. Failing to "cover" my points is rewarded with a loss.

sonia said...

Che Bob,

You have a habit of responding only to the parts of my argument

It's called economy of space. When I agree with you, don't expect a 'Oh, how right you are, Che Bob, and how smart, and how intelligent' from me. I know your ego starves for it, but I prefer to concentrate my limited energy on selected points where you're completely and utterly wrong.

So yes, when I don't respond, it can mean I am conceding your point. Or, more likely, I am just ignoring an obvious, well-known and well-documented cliché everybody agrees about. Your pick.

in the free market system, cheating is inevitable and encouraged.

Sorry, my English not so good. I thought your post was about lazy people cheating on exams, not about intelligent people defrauding other people or governements. All the examples you've listed involved people who probably had straight A's in school (and never had to cheat on exams), and then decided to get rich by using loopholes in government regulations.

I was thinking more of people like medical students cheating on their exams and then killing their patients on operating tables. Under capitalism, medical insurance companies will eventually refuse to cover such doctors, forcing them to beg on streetcorners. But under Communism (or state capitalism, if you prefer), the state will cover for their mistakes indefinitely because admitting that they had allowed incompetent people to practice medicine would completely discredit the whole regulatory system.

Ché Bob said...

sonia:

You are dreaming if you think that all of the people from all of the examples I listed got straight A's without cheating! Cheating is nothing new. It's an effect of a system that rewards cheating and it has gone on for far too long.

The survey was alarming considering the numbers of people participating in cheating. By your logic, 61% of college grads will end up on a street corner begging. That's just not happening. The people cheating are not getting busted. What I'm saying is that 61% of college grads are "getting ahead" in this world not from merit, but from cheating. Do you think that these high statistics just suddenly appeared or that cheating has been going on for a long time?

The entire point of this post is that regardless of what is happening elsewhere, American students are cheating and benefiting from it! That's a big problem and deserves analysis.

troutsky said...

Capitalism rewards short-term thinking . Get over now, worry about consequences later. Some cheating scams require as much intelligence as studying, hence your smart corporate criminals.

gregra&gar said...

I tried cheating in college. By condensing class notes down to a miniature crib sheet I found the perfect study method and realized I had learned the lessons better than any other way I tried to study. I actually never used any of the crib sheets, not from any inherent honesty, but from realizing I didn't need them once they were small enough to use.

J. said...

(A) You never define what constitutes cheating in this survey. Blatant plagiarism? Copying someone else's exam answers? Collaboration on a project? Sharing class notes? I highly doubt 61% of college students violate their university's code of student ethics. Either the definition of cheating or data collection techniques are likely flawed.

(B) You blast holes in your own arguments in the comments. "Only the ones stupid enough to get caught," followed by a comprehensive listing of about fifty "scandals?" Let's forget for a moment that many of these made your list for political reasons, without actual indictments let alone convictions—you know, like the presupposition of innocence requires. I would propose that the examples you listed are the only documented cases of such malfeasance. Prove me wrong by presenting some hard data on how these incidents represent the "tip of the iceberg."

(C) The individuals responsible for any actual crimes committed (crimes that were proven in court, not just alleged) are punished as the law allows. Ken Lay just died after being convicted on 10 counts. Had he survived, do you really think any other corporation would have touched him with a 10-foot pole, let alone hired him as an exec? And why do you assume that corporations where execs do wrong should be out of business? That's absurd.

(D) Your own educational practices are laughable. Un-earn an A? Random point assignments without logical weighting? Rewarding "sacrifices?" (I would love to see that objective in your Board-approved curriculum.) How do you track participation points to avoid bias? Yeah, yeah. Spare us. I'm sure your students are having a blast "delving into meaningful and pertinent topics." I'm sure they love your class. I'm also sure they aren't learning a damned thing.

Ché Bob said...

[NEW CAVEAT, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: IF A COMMENTER TO THIS BLOG IS NOT RATIONAL OR CIVIL ENOUGH TO REFRAIN FROM HYPERBOLE, INSULTS AND RATIONAL DISCOURSE THEY CAN EXPECT NO RESPONSE OR ONE IN KIND]

Where to begin with you, my poor pitiful child "J"...let's see...oh yeah:

J. said:"You never define what constitutes cheating in this survey." IT WASN'T MY SURVEY DUMMY! READ THE BLOG AGAIN!

How about this doozy: "many of these made your list for political reasons, without actual indictments let alone convictions—you know, like the presupposition of innocence requires."

If you aren't too lazy to do a little research and actually take a moment to look through the following Wikipedia entry about Corporate Scandal and then find your way to the bottom of this heading you'll find this entire list with each of the cases I listed.

As far as scandals, frauds, cheating and criminal behavior on behalf of corporations that goes beyond this small list representing the tip of the iceberg, may I suggest you try being a little more honest in what you observe around you everyday. One can only surmise that you not bother to read the heavily documented records indicting corporations every week.

Were you completely asleep recently when Chiquita Banana was indicted, convicted for giving money to the para-military in Colombia in order to carry out a vicious campaign against union workers? Surely, you'd pay attention to such nasty affairs as they happen all the time? Are you not following the major class action suit against W.R. Grace in Libby, Montana where 40% of that towns population is suffering from asbestos-related illnesses. "No!...what's that you say? You don't bother with such trifles." Of course not J. You're too busy denying reality and apologizing for corporate crime.

You're pathetic man! You offer the world nothing, not even the courage to come out from behind your irrational ideological rants and engage in rational discourse. Where's your blog so we can see what gems you offer? That's not your purpose is it? You're a coward!

J. said...

Yes, I am a coward and you are an idiot. Do you even understand the term "fallacious argument?" That seems to be all you are capable of.

I ask for hard data—that means real, verifiable research—on corporate malfeasance, and you respond that I "look around" and see what is happening "everyday" [sic]. That's a non-response, dumb ass.

I accuse you of political bias and you refer me to Wikipedia as a legitimate resource for research? Are you kidding me? Do you even know what real research looks like? Have you ever read an actual peer-reviewed academic publication?

You also seem to equate an indictment or lawsuit as a presumption of guilt. Hell, half the "scandals" you previously listed never led to indictments at all. So, basically, your approach is that an allegation is de facto proof of guilt. Wow. Let me know when one of your students accuses you of grabbing his junk so I can remind you of your personal take on presumed innocence.

You are a moron. For the good of your students, stop teaching as soon as possible. Good luck with your life.

Ché Bob said...

I ask for hard data—that means real, verifiable research—on corporate malfeasance, and you respond that I "look around" and see what is happening "everyday" [sic]. That's a non-response, dumb ass.

That's right "j-enious," it's a "non-response," not a logical fallacy. Here, knowing how much you love Wikipedia, I'm going to send you back to learn about "fallacies."

Now, as for the list, let's pick some of the examples provided by the list on Wikipedia. Do you deny that the SEC, for example, ruled against Worldcom and that Arthur Andersen had to withdraw its falsified audit? Do you not accept that they had to pay $750 million to the SEC, just because Wikipedia is politically biased?

If you'd like, I could keep this up all day and go through the entire list. I could continue to pick apart your bullshit effort to derail discourse point-by-point all day long. But I am choosing a "non-response" approach to deal with you since you merit no response.

If you want to apologize for any of these corporations on this list, be my guest. If you want to apologize for your beloved system of haves and have nots, be my guest. It will not sway me or deter me from doing my job...which is to bury people just like you and to plant a rose upon your ashes!