Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

Cheat your way to Harvard? Or Not?

Cheat your way to Harvard? Or Not?

click hereHarvard University! Class of 2017! Representing 60 countries! Brilliant teenage minds! The best of the best!

Ten percent say they’ve cheated on an exam! Seventeen percent say they’ve cheated on a paper! Forty-two percent say they’ve cheated on a homework assignment! Multiple times! Before they even stepped on campus!

Oh, wait. That’s kind of messed up, isn't it?

Or is it just the “new normal”?

Harvard's student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, broke this news after polling the university's 1,664 incoming freshmen. The Crimson had already asked the same questions of last spring's graduating seniors, prompting it to conclude that Harvard's Class of 2017 included 42% more self-confessed cheaters than Harvard's Class of 2013.

This revelation comes in the wake of last year’s cheating scandal, when Harvard announced it was investigating 125 students under suspicion for cheating on a take-home final (half of those investigated were forced to withdraw from Harvard for a year or more). That cheating scandal had already been followed by another embarrassment earlier this year, when Harvard was stripped of four championship quiz bowl titles after it was discovered that one of its team members had gotten hold of tournament questionsin advance of the actual tournament.

Not that Harvard is the citadel of cheating in America.

Far from it. In a recent survey of 23,000 teenagers in public and private high school students conducted by the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, 51% admitted to cheating on a test during the past year, while 74% said they’d copied another student’s homework. Smart teens cheated just as much as dumb teens, “A” students as much as “B” students. Bottom line: In the high-pressure high school of the 21st century, cheating seems to be the teenager rule, not the teenager exception.

At New York City’s Stuyvesant High School, where more than 60 teens were implicated in a cheating scandal over city and state standardized tests, one Stuyvesant student told The New York Times: “You could study for two hours and get an 80, or you could take a risk and get a 90.”

Take the risk, and cheat your way to Harvard. Or take the high road, and settle for State U.

What’s your take? Cast your vote.

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