Commentary on joannejacobs.com directed me to an article on cheating in school and youth ethics. The numbers presented by the article were not encouraging:
"_Cheating in school is rampant and getting worse. Sixty-four percent of students cheated on a test in the past year and 38 percent did so two or more times, up from 60 percent and 35 percent in a 2006 survey.
"_Thirty-six percent said they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment, up from 33 percent in 2004.
"_Forty-two percent said they sometimes lie to save money — 49 percent of the boys and 36 percent of the girls.
"Despite such responses, 93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that 'when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.'"
And what do some educators give as the reason why these students are cheating?
"The competition is greater, the pressures on kids have increased dramatically... They have opportunities their predecessors didn't have (to cheat). The temptation is greater."
"This generation is leading incredibly busy lives — involved in athletics, clubs, so many with part-time jobs, and — for seniors — an incredibly demanding and anxiety-producing college search."
That's a pretty lame excuse. Can we honestly say, in this day of declining student performance and educational standards, that today's kids have it harder than students in the past? What about this finding:
"The survey found that 35 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls — 30 percent overall — acknowledged stealing from a store within the past year. One-fifth said they stole something from a friend; 23 percent said they stole something from a parent or other relative."
I think it's a lot more likely that many parents and schools are utterly failing to instill honesty and integrity into kids. What about students' 'stressful' lives and 'overly demanding academic standards' is driving them to lie to save money, steal from friends and family, or shoplift? The cheating is obviously a symptom of a larger problem; our society as a whole, and our youth in particular, are becoming unethical and unprincipled (e.g., rampant fraud is believed to be one of the major causes of the current mortgage crisis).
It's too bad our modern culture kicked God and traditional morality out as "old fashioned" and "oppressive"; we could use some of that morality right about now.