Education

More Teens Lie, Cheat, and Steal

December 01, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A new survey shows that more high school students are lying, cheating, and stealing—a reflection, it says, of the “entrenched habits of dishonesty” among young people.

The 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, released by the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles, is the result of a survey of 29,000 students at public and private high schools throughout the country.

Sixty-four percent of the students said they have cheated on a test over the past year, with nearly four in 10 doing so more than once. Some 40 percent lifted information off the Internet and used it in an assignment. (click on the charts to enlarge.)

This, even as the students report that their parents emphasize the importance of honesty and hard work, and that they themselves believe that truthfulness and trustworthiness are important in personal and business relationships.

So what gives? An overwhelming majority of the students say that honesty is important, and don’t necessarily believe that cheating and stealing will help them get ahead. Yet most admit to such behaviors.

The report doesn’t give much insight into why, but could increasing testing pressure have something to do with it? Or perhaps teens see dishonesty in school as something entirely different from lying or cheating at home or at work. When they want something—good grades, a cool new gadget, or a way out of an uncomfortable situation—is dishonesty just the easy way out? Given all the news about the causes of the current economic crisis, and with prominent lawmakers going to jail for unethical conduct, are kids just following adults’ lead? Granted, some of the teens might not have even taken the survey seriously—more than one-fourth said they didn’t even answer the survey questions honestly! But since the survey began, the data have shown a solid trend toward the dark side.

At the risk of sounding like an aging, out-of-touch adult: What’s wrong with kids these days?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
Education Opinion The Top 10 Rick Hess Straight Up Columns of 2022
NAEP, pre-K, who decides what gets taught. Those are among the most popular or impactful posts of the year.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty