“I would consider it cheating.”

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.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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