To the Editor:
I appreciate Joan F. Goodman’s deeply thoughtful Commentary, “How Bad Is Cheating?” (Jan. 5, 2005). But it is painful to observe a dedicated teacher struggling to teach the very basics of character to a supposedly educated society.
Yes, cheating is unfair to others, but unless the underlying attitude is effectively addressed, my 53 years as a teacher says it will seriously cripple what the cheater could and should accomplish in life.
Even ancients like Heraclitus understood that “character is destiny.” And character development begins with a deep appreciation of the power of integrity, which any form of cheating or lying denies.
Without intervention, our ego inevitably seeks shortcuts to success like cheating. But at a deeper level within ourselves, our conscience knows the true path of our destiny, which our pursuit of the truth and desire to “do the right thing” empowers us to follow, enabling us to transcend our lesser ego desires in the process.
While everyday golfers may sometimes cheat, the great ones never do. Why? Because they know cheating would short-circuit their most powerful energies of integrity and conscience, and under pressure, they would never make that tournament-winning putt when they needed to.
It is tragic that we are obviously failing to teach the majority of American students this most critical lesson about life.
Joseph W. Gauld
Founder of Hyde Schools
The Hyde Foundation
A version of this article appeared in the February 02, 2005 edition of Education Week as Cheating Denies Students The ‘Power of Integrity’