Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Do virtual schools encourage cheating

From the Times Union

by Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK — The Georgia Supreme Court didn't set out to curb academic cheating but it did anyway.

In a ruling released Monday morning, the state's highest court said the Georgia Charter Schools Commission is unconstitutional. What this commission does is approve charter schools without the permission of locally elected school boards. School boards complained that the commission diverted badly needed funds from county schools and other local districts.

But that's not all that was wrong.

One of the affected charter schools is the Georgia Cyber Academy that was to open in the fall with 8,500 students. As the name implies, the students would have been taking classes online. Chances are, your county school district already gives students chances to take classes online, usually to make up ones they failed in the classroom.

As I was talking with some folks about the court's ruling during breakfast at a fast food eatery Monday morning, a young man clearing tables overheard me say "online school."

"They cheat,'' he said.

"How do you know that?'' I asked.

"Because I did all of my ex-girlfriend's work. All she had to do was log on and I would sit down at the computer and do her work,'' he said.

This was in Brantley County, but it could have been anywhere in Georgia. He did say she was his ex-girlfriend. I didn't want to pry, but I'm betting he failed one of her tests so she dumped him for somebody smarter.

And there's a guy enrolled in one of those schools running around Brunswick bragging that he doesn't do any of his own online school work.

It seems he has two jobs and doesn't have time to do it himself. Yet, he'll get a diploma. Maybe it will be like the Oscars where the principal will announce, "Joe couldn't be here tonight. He had to unload a truck at work. Accepting the diploma on his behalf is his girlfriend, Suzy Q."

That's what happens when we put people without any honor on the honor system. Even if it is online, anybody who will cheat will steal. Even worse, he'll probably lie about his golf score.

When students take pop quizzes and exams, some teachers watch them like hawks. Any teacher worth his or her certificate will give anyone they catch cheating a zero.

This online cheating puts the students who are motivated enough to go to school at a disadvantage when competing for HOPE scholarships and class standing.

Why not level the playing field? Let's require classroom teachers to wait in the lounge during testing.

The online scholars already have an advantage because the computer curriculum is easier.

One of my favorite quotes in the Associated Press story on the Supreme Court decision came from Renee Lord, who has two children at the Georgia Cyber Academy.

"This really is the one best option for so many families whose children were failing at traditional schools,'' Lord said.

I'm sure that doesn't tell the whole story, but the word failing just jumped out at me. Why were they failing?

Traditional schools have worked throughout this country's history. They stopped working when we shifted the responsibility for failure from the students to the teachers.

Every test that counts should be taken with a No. 2 lead pencil while a teacher watches.

Meanwhile, God save the state of Georgia and this honorable court. At least in this ruling.

1 comment:

  1. It happens in FL too. I have witnessed it firsthand.