I was a big cycling fan before the sport got popular in our country. And, back in the day, I was a pretty serious cyclist myself--I spoke the lingo, wore the gaudy jerseys, shaved the legs, rode custom racing bikes with “Campy Record” components and I had the muscled-up quads one only gets from logging thousands of miles in the saddle.
What's Happening in Character?
In Marvin Berkowitz’s Hot Topic discussion this afternoon, he didn’t hesitate to cut right to the point. “We need to make schools less like prisons,” he said. “When you think about it, it’s disconcerting how much the analogy fits. How can we create more enlightened and just schools?” Marvin’s talk focused on utilizing empowerment and democracy to accomplish this.
Topics: cheating, character, CEPLeaders, character education, key lessons, what works in education, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum, student voice, character education in high school, core values, CEPForum10, CEP2012
As you sit in your crowded lecture hall and toil away at that seemingly impossible math problem, you glance down and see a peer in the next row surreptitiously looking at formulas he has scrawled on his hand. This scene sounds quite plausible to many students. Whether they’ve engaged in the behavior themselves or simply witnessed a friend or fellow student cheating, most students are familiar with academic dishonesty. It’s your job, as a moral and upright learner, to take a stand for what you believe in and do your part to combat cheating. If you fail to do so, you’ll be doing yourself and your fellow learners a disservice.
Whether students engage in this type of behavior in online classes or as part of their traditional, brick-and-mortar schooling, it will necessarily adversely affect their learning. While parents may not be able to prevent their children from cheating, they can reduce the likelihood that their students make academic dishonesty a common practice by engaging in frank discussions and being on the lookout for cheating.
“Teachers matter,” said President Obama this week in his State of the Union address. “Instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.”
We at the nonprofit Character Education Partnership (CEP) share this concern because “teaching to the test” can deceive stakeholders into thinking students are doing better than they really are. But in the current environment, we are even more alarmed by how the testing status quo seems to be adversely affecting the integrity of our education system, itself.
Recent revelations of widespread testing fraud in Atlanta's public schools are just the latest examples of a disturbing national trend that should finally force all of us who care about education to ask some uncomfortable but unavoidable questions. Chief among them: Has a national over-emphasis on standardized testing actually created a monster that is eroding the character of K-12 education?