It normally happens that when an individual encounters a problem of some sort in their life, they desire to find the quickest and easiest solution to that problem.  Since there are many “solutions” that involve dishonest actions and cause further trouble in the future, it is really the responsibility of one’s overall education, as delivered by parents, teachers, peer and more, to help one recognize the power of good solutions.  Unfortunately, it seems that traditional education is failing students far more often than it should.

Academic Dishonesty and its Effects

One could consider that the entire purpose of education is to give the individual the information they will need in order to do well in their future.  Obviously, this information is useless unless the individual is able to use it to somehow better his survival.  However, with many traditional educations focusing on the memorization of facts and lacking the basic foundation that will enable students to see the usefulness of these facts, there are many individuals who are finding that it is much easier to cheat their way through school than actually learn the information provided there.  What may be worse is the fact that many schools are not only allowing this dishonesty to occur, they are actually encouraging it.

In July 2011, state investigators in Georgia reported that they had found a pattern of cheating in forty-four schools, involving one hundred seventy-eight teachers and principals and dating back for more than a decade.  These individuals aided students who were cheating on their tests, and top administrators apparently ignored reports of cheating.  Between 1999 and 2002, officials in New York uncovered twenty-one proven cases of teacher cheating which involved reading off answers during a test, sending students back to correct their wrong answers, copying secure tests for use during class, altering scores and looking at test questions in order to drill those topics in class beforehand.

It’s safe to say that an individual who has learned to be dishonest in school may also find that it is appropriate or acceptable to be dishonest in other areas of their life.  After all, their educational experience has taught them that seeking out dishonest solutions can help them in some way, and this lesson is usually well-understood.  It follows, then, that academic dishonesty can lead to workplace dishonesty, and a recent study has proven that this is entirely true.

DailyFinance reported in July 2011 that more than two hundred different retailers who represented more than one hundred thousand different outlets had been surveyed, and forty-one percent had confirmed that shoplifting problems were on the rise.  Stores that reported thefts of pharmaceutical products had reached a whopping sixty-four percent and the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention indicated that retailers lose thirteen billion dollars each and every year due to theft.  As shocking as these statistics are, they are completely understandable when one considers that schoolchildren are essentially being taught that they should do whatever it takes to get what they want, and they are lacking the basic academic educational skills they need in order to acquire things honestly.

Leading economic researchers Paul Grimes and Jon Rezek have written about the clear link between rising academic dishonesty and rising workplace dishonesty.  They report that the sheer number of financial scandals involving corporate leaders and public officials have grabbed public attention around the world, and many of these scandals involve overt dishonest behavior, such as falsifying records and lying to regulators and the public.  It is believed by many US critics that these scandals are a direct result of the deterioration of ethical standards in American schools, especially since cheating has become so widespread and normal.

It is quite easy to understand how condoning or encouraging academic dishonesty is detrimental to our future.  Encouraging academic honesty and hard work is likely to lead to the more desirable effects of dedicated, hardworking and upstanding members of the workforce and of society.