We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, November 16. 2010
An academic mercenary tells his story. A quote:
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Denied by schools and universities, professionals have known for years that these sleezeballs exist as it's the only way (even with the catastrophic school system we have) that people can gain diplomas yet be as utterly incapable of even the most basic tasks as many of them are.
That also must be the reason for the overwhelming amount of essays in college applications. Plus, what they are asked to write about seems so random to me. I guess they are trying to
outsmart these professional hired guns.
And I'm positive that the instructor or professor never reads any of the papers either. That's done by graduate assistants - get to know them and you can write a grocery list and pass.
I developed a hatred of writing my senior year in high school. An Advanced Placement History teacher demanded a lot of term papers but never bothered with doing any work himself outside of class, such as preparing lectures. And I mean HATRED. I associated writing with an ignorant, lazy, judgmental SOB who required that I work my ass off, while not doing any work himself. Not all students reacted that way, but that is how I reacted. [ I found out later that an AP student in another year had written a term paper for that teacher on a fictional battle, and got an A for his efforts. Just to show you what a doofus the teacher was. I doubt the teacher was grading the student on creating a Borges-like work.]
Instead of going to the writing mills, which were much less prominent when I was an undergrad, I avoided courses and majors that required writing. To my chagrin, I found out that my Engineering Lab class required that a team of four churn out a 30 page lab report every week. All professionals need to write clearly and concisely.
The paper-writing author stated that he got his start writing papers for fellow students when he was an undergrad. My sister-in-law did something similar in college, but for taking tests. She was a psychology major who was able to get good grades on tests in psychology courses she had never taken. I found it amazing that she had the capability of doing that. Once you learn the jargon, you can apply it anywhere, I guess.
I find it sad that High School destroys more student's motivation for learning than any single institution. (My assessment, and 89.27% fact - made up on the spot of course ;^)
Anyway, above from my own personal observation.... being one of the lazy students then.
First example: Creative writing class, assignment to write a short fiction story. I pulled out a copy of a Science Fiction anthology and fully plagiarize a Hugo & Nebula award winning new author from several years prior. I typed it up and submitted it. Got a "C" overall.
Second example: Senior English, again the ubiquitous short story paper. I pulled from an older brother's stash of papers the exact assignment written four years previous (Do teachers EVER vary lesson plans????) I corrected all his typographical errors, punctuation, and spelling. When I received the paper back, I had received a full letter grade lower than he had.
Those two incidents lead me to the conclusion life is not fair, then you die. Wait!
No, its just that education outside of the hard sciences basics (chemistry, physics, etc.) and math are randomly arbitrary and capricious in interpretation; interpreted by flawed humans with their own prejudices. So if the data view is truly subjective, it appears from my own life's examples, that buttering up the old biddy up front is worth at least as much as the effort put into gathering the data bits themselves.... Flattery and outright bribery might just pay off!
I guess what is further sad, based now on 40 years in the workforce, is that same ineptitude in spelling, grammar, and sentence construction is becoming more the norm rather than the exception. I find reading the reports generated by fellow analysts, and the responses from supposedly educated company officers just leave me shaking my head.
I work in "Directional U" MBA admissions. There is a significant portion of the student body who would not consider hiring this guy cheating. I'm not defending it, I'm just saying...
They do get caught, maybe not often enough, but some are caught. Of course at my school we don't have TA's grading papers, the professors grade the papers.
Reading the appeal of an Academic Dishonesty dismissal decision is amusing.
And, since I do have my own blog, I have written in greater length here .
This was a really interesting article; thanks for the link.
I teach an online course. Most of my students are education majors and they are the stupidest students I have. This very day I got an email from one of them asking me to figure out her grade in the class. All lessons [n=8] are 6.25% of the grade. Exams [n=2] are 25% each. It's a very simple calculation, especially since she'd only done the first 5 lessons - no exams. This girl will go on to get a degree from a reputable midwestern university and in 2 years be a teacher at your kid's elementary school.
In the past year I have had 3 pairs of ed students turn in identical lessons and ALL of them exclaimed, 'But I didn't cheat! I would never cheat!'. [Of course, we cannot prove which one cheated]. These kids don't know what cheating is. They think that job one is to pass the class and to do that, they need to turn in homework that will get them a passing grade. If they can't do it themselves, then they'll get it from someone else - either a sucker who will let them copy, or someone who they can pay to do the work.
At the university level we need smaller classes and higher admission standards. However, these problems begin in high school and I can't begin to address the problems there.
This is why we homeschool.
Weaver's comment is echoed by a passage in the link.
I, who have no name, no opinions, and no style, have written so many papers at this point, including legal briefs, military-strategy assessments, poems, lab reports, and, yes, even papers on academic integrity, that it's hard to determine which course of study is most infested with cheating. But I'd say education is the worst. I've written papers for students in elementary-education programs, special-education majors, and ESL-training courses. I've written lesson plans for aspiring high-school teachers, and I've synthesized reports from notes that customers have taken during classroom observations. I've written essays for those studying to become school administrators, and I've completed theses for those on course to become principals. In the enormous conspiracy that is student cheating, the frontline intelligence community is infiltrated by double agents. (Future educators of America, I know who you are.)
Let us hope that his ed school clients are among the nearly 50% of teachers who leave the teaching profession within five years after beginning teaching.
For those who think that knowing a subject is all you need to know in order to be a good teacher: it is a necessary but not sufficient condition.
Keep in mind that South Carolina's Senatorial hopeful, Alvin Greene was a Political science graduate of the University of South Carolina. Can anyone imagine him writing anything longer than his name?
Ed Majors - I was actually grateful we had them because they would take selected 3 and 400 level classes - two of them to be precise - to have a specialization in a particular subject, along with a couple intro classes. Nothing was sweeter than an upper division, difficult renaissance lit, comp sci or biology class where >50% of the class comprised Ed majors. I reckon it was impossible to get lower than a 3.0 in such a class.
Most of my undergrad friends who went into teaching did so after completing a major and perhaps a terminal masters degree in a particular subject such as lit, history, comp sci or mathematics. Then they taught in a low paid job in some prestigious private school, while earning another 30 or 45 hours of an "education certificate" that would allow them to teach in the public schools. Keep that in mind - "unqualified" people who know a subject are often paid $25k or less per year to teach in exclusive & successful private schools with $15k or $20k tuition, while "qualified" people who have maybe taken 12 or 15 credit hours in a given subject area are paid $10-15k more to teach in a public school, by virtue of having absorbed the latest, soon-to-be-discredited pedagogical theory. The incentives & goals are not aligned unless the goal of public school is to do something other than teach a topic.