Dear America, If High Schoolers Cheat, There is Something Wrong With Our Education System

Dear America, If High Schoolers Cheat, There is Something Wrong With Our Education System

Cheating has become a major problem, but we have not attempted to do anything about it.
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Teenagers these days hold the weight of the world on their backs, especially considering that their world is purely academic. High schoolers feel as though they need countless advanced placement (AP) classes plus numerous extracurriculars. In fact, the high school I attend, Northview High School, is notorious for being extremely competitive, a title that comes with precarious success. Kids intent on scoring high for an upper level GPA are a little too willing to break ethical boundaries just to receive more points on a quiz or test.

Just a week ago, students were caught cheating by copying down answers to a reading quiz for the AP U.S. History course. This reading quiz, which has a relatively small impact on a student's grade, aims to capture how well a student knows the chapter. Students are allowed individual, handwritten notes to use during the quiz, but in an attempt to achieve a higher average, some chose to get answers from a peer and share notes with other friends. Now, our notes are being limited to only one page long.

As an AP U.S. History student who is now at a disadvantage, I could not help but feel further constrained by the tightening noose around my neck that is our education system. This was not the first (nor will it be the last) cheating scandal that occurred at Northview. We've had an entire class send pictures of a Spanish test on a group chat, faced common cases of plagiarism and even had some AP exam "difficulties."

But I know the student body. I know the typical Northview student. We're preoccupied with after school club meetings, daily sports practices, science fair projects, community service and so many other hobbies that we do not get a chance to finish our bucket-load of homework every night. The amount of pressure placed on those dedicated students, along with prodding from equally motivated parents, can prompt adolescents to take risky shortcuts to get good grades with less effort.

And honestly, I can sympathize. Teenagers are expected to do many things without showing signs of strain or unhappiness, but adults and administrators should remember that we are humans, too. We have our limits, we have a breaking point that we can reach if we suffer from sleep deprivation or learning disabilities. Colleges use the holistic approach to see if their candidates are intelligent, but are they really measuring smartness? All they see are numbers that suddenly define who we are . . . but they should not. We are so much more than an 85 or a 95. Our creativity and our passions and how we show them are more important than mere numbers, but sadly the extent of our non-academic capabilities are not measured by colleges.

SEE ALSO: Numbers Are A Critical Part Of Life, But They Shouldn't Define Who You Are

The sad part is, cheating is an universal problem that thousands of schools suffer from all over the nation. Within Georgia, there have been major incidents illustrating academic dishonesty in the past indicating that cheating has not been a recent issue. In 2009, 44 Atlanta public schools changed their students' CRCT scores to reflect a major improvement, a trend that was inconsistent with the statistics. Cheating is not limited to only students; the teachers in this case had felt forced to commit this error to avoid a negative evaluation of their teaching capabilities. In fact, this event has been dubbed "the largest cheating scandal in the nation."

So schools, please stop putting more than one assessment on one day. Stop piling on homework on a daily basis. Stop comparing us to over-achieving students. Stop reprimanding us for our opinions. Stop denying mental illness. Stop setting un-achievable standards for teachers. Our education and success later in life is more important than high numbers or hollow reputations.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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12 Signs You're A Nursing Student

Other than the fact that you're constantly seen in scrubs.
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Nursing school is...an adventure. There is nothing quite as exciting or draining as going through the process of becoming a nurse. Some days you're helping to care for tiny babies, and then other days you're off doing wound care for pressure ulcers. Nursing school is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get.

There are some key signs in people that show when they're in nursing school. I know my friends and I definitely have these characteristics (whether we want them or not).

1. Your body has no concept of time. Night shift, day shift, there's no time for sleeping. There's no time for anything but studying and work. What day is it? You don't know unless there's an exam.

2. You're addicted to coffee because of the lack of the whole time concept. You can drink coffee and fall asleep right after finishing the cup. Does coffee even work anymore? Does it matter? Oh well, still going to drink the entire pot.

3. Nothing phases you. Poop? Vomit? Yeah, no. I have cleaned up a friend's vomit without even questioning it.

4. You freak out about exams like no other. What do you know? What do you not know? What is pharmacology and why does it hate you? Why doesn't your brain understand neurology? How do you study 10 lectures in one week? WHAT WILL BE ON THE EXAM, JUST TELL US, PLEASE.

5. You can talk about anything during a meal without getting grossed out. Except your non-nursing friends do get really grossed out. You have to filter your conversations when you're at lunch with them. All your friends say things to you like:

6. Your friends never see you. You're either hiding in your room studying, going crazy in clinicals, or working your life away. "Hey, want to hang out?" "Yeah, I'm free next month...actually, next year is better for me."

7. You have two forms: study hyper-drive super-human and half dead maybe-human. "Ahhhhhhhh, gotta study, gotta study! *stays up until 5 am studying*" versus "How am I still living? *passes out facefirst into bed*."

8. You have a very odd habit of complimenting people's veins.

9. You use therapeutic communication during regular daily life. But you don't ask why. "How does that make you feel?"

10. You spend a lot of time during lectures wondering if anyone else is as confused as you. Somebody explain endocrinology to me? Hemodynamic stability? Anyone?

11. You constantly ask yourself why you chose the major you chose, but you know you care too much to change majors. There's no turning back for you.

12. But most importantly, you understand that no matter how much school sucks, you're going to be making a major difference in so many lives. And that's what really matters.

Cover Image Credit: Elissa Lawson

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No, A Colored Student Did Not 'Steal Your Spot,' They Worked Hard To Get Here

I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

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Real talk, this whole "they're stealing our resources!" thing has to stop.

It ranges from welfare to acceptance letters into prestigious universities. People (and by people, I'm referring to those who identify as white) have made the assumption that they are having their opportunities stolen by people of color. That's ridiculous.

I love my university. I love the people at my university. However, when I sit in a classroom and look around at my colleagues, the majority of them are white. Of course, there are some classes that are filled with more people of color, but for the most part, they're predominantly white. So, let's say that out of a classroom of 30 students, only 7 identify as people of color.

In what world can somebody make the argument that those 7 students are stealing the spot of a white student? I don't think people realize how hard those 7 students had to work just to be in the same spot as their white counterparts.

Let me use my experience: I am a Latina woman who is attending university on a full-ride scholarship. I don't always tell people about this, because I don't feel like being asked, "wow, what did you do to get that?!" A lot. I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

First off, those "illegal immigrants" you're bashing, don't even qualify for financial aid. They don't qualify for most scholarships, actually. Second, have you considered that maybe, that "illegal immigrant" worked hard in and outside of school to earn their scholarship? I received my full-ride scholarship on the basis of my GPA, but also because I am a lower-class woman of color and was selected because I am disproportionately affected by poverty and access to a quality education.

So, this scholarship was literally created because there is an understanding that minorities don't have the same access to education as our white counterparts. It's not a handout though, I had to work hard to get the money that I have now. When white students get scholarships, it's not a handout but when you're Latina like me, apparently it is.

This way of viewing minorities and their education is damaging, and further discourages these people from receiving a quality education. We didn't steal anybody's spot, we had to work to get where we are, twice as hard as our white colleagues that are not discriminated against on a daily basis.

Instead of tearing down students of color because you didn't get a scholarship, why not criticize the American education system instead? It's not our fault tuition is $40k a year, and we have no reason to apologize for existing in a space that is predominantly white.

To students of color: you worked hard to get where you are, and I am proud of you. To white students: I'm proud of you too. We all worked hard to get to where we are now, let's lift each other up, not put each other down.

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