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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Five Tips to Get on Top of Your 2019: Tech Editions

Yeah, there's an app for that.

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Technology is the course of the future, why not use it to get on top of your new year? Make 2019 the year you stop sleeping on these great productivity apps and get grinding! Best part, all the apps I've included here are free.

Google Calendar.

Look at that beauty.

I LOVE Google Calendar! Not only is it a great tool to map out your week, it comes with cool features. You can color code tasks and events, get text reminders and so much more. You can even sync your calendar with other people's (this is very helpful for roommates or study buddies).

Google Doc File Folders

Crying.

Sick of that long list of documents in your Google Docs? You can make file folders to organize all of your docs!

Momentum Chrome Extension

This is by far my favorite productivity app. It's a Chrome extension that acts as a home page whenever you open a new window or tab. It comes complete with the weather, a motivational quote and a to-do list! The best feature is their "main focus for the day". It keeps you grounded for sure- especially when it pops up with every tab and forces you to think about all you need to accomplish.

Wunderlist

This is a to-do list on steroids- definitely worth checking out!

Todist

A to-do list app for your phone! I love this just to organize what my top priorities are.

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