Anyone who says they’ve never cheated on a test is a liar in addition to being a cheat. Even my mother cheated on the written portion of her driver’s license exam. (It shows.) But students at the esteemed Stuyvesant High School are supposed to be better than the rest of us. These kids are the future Nobel Prize winners, the future surgeons of parts of the brain I’ve never heard of! Cheat on tests? Heavens, no!
But 71 bright-eyed Stuy students have been accused of doing just that––and on the state Regents exams no less. A teacher confiscated a student’s cell phone and found text messages discussing questions on the test. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today that one kid took a picture of the test, and through some sort of texting tree, 69 other students got a peek at the questions on the exam. Another had gone old school: s/he passed notes.
The note passer and the test photographer are both likely to be suspended. The other 69 cheaters will have to take the test again, and are likely to be forbidden from participating in a number of extracurricular activities like student government or athletic teams. (Given the competitive atmosphere of prestigious high schools like Stuyvesant, a lack of extracurriculars can have serious ramifications on college applications.)
What lesson can we take away from this dishonorable act? Maybe that we should reexamine the fetishization of test scores and grades? Maybe that a competitive academic system is not the most clever or efficient system? Maybe? (Photo: Alberto G./Flickr)