The words of a parent of a child seeking admission to one of New York City’s hoity-toity high schools upon having an admissions exam tutor offer a copy of the high school’s admission exam. The parent said that he/she did not look at the exam or allow his/her son to do so because he/she considered it cheating. Who would conclude that it was not cheating?
The tutor explained that he had obtained the exam by sending “spies” in to take the exam. New York City needs to do something about its admission process for its high schools. Over the years the number of cheating stories, with limitless creativity, have appeared in the New York Times. The kids cheat, the parents get the kids tutors who cheat, and it seems that no one gets caught or is sanctioned.
The ethical dilemma the parent presented was whether to send the test back to the school anonymously or with identity disclosed and whether to report the tutor. The response of Times‘ Ethicist was that it was unlikely that the high school would make the students retake the exam. Why would that be? That remedy is the teaching moment: If one student cheats, everyone is affected. Indeed, that is the very definition of the ethical mind — the ability to understand what would happen if everyone behaved in the same way. If everyone has a copy of the admissions exam, there really is not an admission process. There is no longer a system of merit, but one of corruption. Whoever can get the best tutor wins the admission lottery. Then whoever can pay the tutor the most gets the exam..Funny, they call this graft and corruption in foreign countries. We can take some small comfort in knowing that New York is teaching this system of banana republic corruption to children early and often and all through the public schools.