Friday, September 07, 2012

"When ambition trumps ethics" "Why kids cheat at Harvard" Need “messages ..that lead to lives genuinely worthy of admiration."

"When ambition trumps ethics" "Why kids cheat at Harvard" by Howard Gardner - Same text with 1st title in The Washington Post Online August 31, 2012;  with 2nd title in print Washington Post, p. A29 September 7, 2012 - Same article, two titles.  Last sentence "Yet this scandal can have a positive outcome if leaders begin a searching examination of the messages being conveyed to our precious young people and then do whatever it takes to make those messages ones that lead to lives genuinely worthy of admiration."

Not a digression:  Did Howard Gardner know, control, or authorize re-publication and variations?  About title change?  Should the print version published Sept 7 have included a citation for the earlier published online version?  Is this "self plagiarism" or a widely understood and accepted consequence of an agreement with the publishers?    Either way, could this have been handled differently to more effectively, even a little, make this message one that leads to "lives genuinely worthy of admiration."

More excerpts from the article:
"On Thursday, I and many others learned of the university's largest cheating scandal ["Harvard investigating dozens for possible cheating, including plagiarizing, sharing answers." - Wash. Post Aug 30, 2012 By Associated Press]in living memory. According to news reports, close to half of the 250 undergraduates in "Introduction to Congress" are being investigated for allegedly cheating on a final examination. The fate of individual students is not yet known, but this event will clearly be a stain on Harvard's reputation as large and consequential as that suffered by the service academies in earlier decades.T 
"The results of that study, reported in the book 'Making Good,' surprised us. Over and over again, students told us that they admired good work and wanted to be good workers. But they also told us they wanted — ardently — to be successful. They feared that their peers were cutting corners and that if they themselves behaved ethically, they would be bested. And so, they told us in effect, 'Let us cut corners now and one day, when we have achieved fame and fortune, we'll be good workers and set a good example.' A classic case of the ends justify the means...."As for those students who do have the scholarly bent, all too often they see professors cut corners — in their class attendance, their attention to student work and, most flagrantly, their use of others to do research. Most embarrassingly, when professors are caught — whether in financial misdealings or even plagiarizing others' work — there are frequently no clear punishments. If punishments ensue, they are kept quiet, and no one learns the lessons that need to be learned."

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