Photo Credit: Reuters

Pre-game activity before a UNC Tarheels and Kansas Jayhawks play at a NCAA Men’s Semi-final basketball game in 2008. Reuters.

 

In grade school teachers made it tough for us to cheat.

On test day, they walked down the aisle peering over shoulders hoping to dismiss any chance we had of getting answers dishonestly. If we copied off another student, we risked having our test paper taken away and not given back. Even worse, we were given a failing grade for the class. We didn’t realize we were cheating ourselves out of learning skills for life.

Cheating was exposed on the campus of the University of North Carolina (UNC). A report released on October 22, stated that more than 3,100 students enrolled in classes they didn’t have to show up for. Nearly half of students that cheated were athletes. Using assessment tools it was discovered that more than half of the athletes had from fourth- to eighth-grade reading levels. They ate their Wheaties, skipped past the hallowed halls of academics, and headed straight to the gym or toward the field.

The scandal lasted for two decades.

 

The Pressure to Succeed

Students cheat because they’re pressured to get good grades. But cheating is wrong. Professor Michael Bishop, Chair of the Iowa State University Department of Philosophy and Religion said in an essay, that “The Cheater cheats himself of an education. His actions imply that he either does not understand what a quality education is or does not care about getting one…” At Iowa State, Bishop caught a student searching through his book bag while taking a makeup exam. Bishop also stated that over half of his upper-class students cheated on a test or plagiarized a paper.

As any student-athlete knows, it’s takes hard work to play a sport, train, and excel in class all at once. It takes time to learn full speed shooting in basketball, and a two-point stance in football. Who wouldn’t want to bypass chemistry class to master a sport they’d hope one day could help them earn enough money to buy a nice car?

 

The Connection Between Reading and Health Care

Reading is an important connection to success in school and life. Children are taught how to read until the 3rd grade. By the 4th grade, they’re reading so they can learn. Those who struggle to stay on track often fall behind and eventually drop out of school. One in every five students drops out of high school, and 1.2 million students drop out each year.

As caregivers we need to continue encouraging our children to read. As children grow older, they’ll need reading skills to help steer them through the health system. They’ll need to know how to obtain health services, make decisions about the risks of playing after an injury, calculate dosages of medicine, communicate with health care providers, and locate health information. Without strong reading or math skills, your child may end up in the emergency room because he mis-read the instructions on a pill bottle, or couldn’t understand a doctor’s note.

Start helping your child now by finding their current reading level as well as math level. If their teacher tells you they’re falling behind in their work, take the necessary steps to get them tested. Reading is a habit that leads to success. Cheating has always been, always will be…wrong… wrong…wrong.

 

2 Thoughts on “Cheating at UNC: A Scandal Not Worth Repeating

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