Is Cheating a Survival Skill?

One of this week's conversations over at The New York Times' Room for Debate blog concerns the so-called "epidemic" of cheating. A recent survey of high school students done by researchers at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that the majority of students engaged in behaviors that are considered to be cheating—but in other cases took actions that would traditionally be considered dishonest, but which they did not consider wrong.

An English professor at Emory University, Mark Bauerlein, blames the Internet, in part, for the phenomenon, since it encourages a culture of idea-sharing. Blogging, for instance, requires the sharing of other people's thoughts (as I'm doing now, though with attribution). However, with so many different forms of sharing taking place on the web, Bauerlein writes, students can get confused on the true rules. Cheating-via-sharing is thus a "survival skill" in this new world. One problem, however: "On that model, though, knowledge isn't absorbed and interpreted. It is retrieved and passed along," he explains.

Alfie Kohn, an outspoken critic of the way our public schools currently work (high reliance on standardized tests) beats his usual drum, but makes a solid point: "[C]heating is less common in classrooms where the learning is genuinely engaging, where each student sees others as resources rather than rivals, and where exploring ideas hasn’t been eclipsed by a single-minded emphasis on 'rigor.'"

In other words, a more creative curriculum—such as those used at Akron, Ohio's National Inventors Hall of Fame School and discussed in this week's Newsweek cover story—simply don't allow situations where students can cheat, nor create the environments where they would want to.

Standardized testing, however, absolutely encourages that behavior.

Photo via.

via Jim Browing / YouTube

Jim Browning is a YouTuber from the UK who has an amazing ability to catch scammers in the act.

In this video, he responds to a scam email claiming he bought a laptop by breaking into the scammer's computer. In the process he uncovers where the scammers work, their banking information, and even their personal identities.

"I got an 'invoice' email telling me that I had paid for a $3800 laptop," Browning writes on his YouTube page. "No links... just a phone number. It's a real shame that these scammers emailed me because I was able to find out exactly who they were and where the were."

Keep Reading
HG B / YouTube

Danielle Reno of Missouri left her car running and it was stolen by thieves. But she wasn't going to let her car go so easily.

For 48 hours this owner of a pet rescue tracked the charges being made on her credit card. Ultimately, she found her car at a local Applebee's, and then went after the thieves.

Keep Reading
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading