Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Encouraging Cheating?

While Rebecca Schuman advocates eliminating the essay as part of college life (what better way to encourage students to learn to write better than dumping a writing requirement) is somewhat understandable, you've got to wonder if pointing to cheating on writing assignments as a good reason to dump essay writing in the first place.

Today in Slate she says this, re: the outrage over her stupid suggestion:

A halt to the college essay might also mean the abrupt stoppage of the gravy train for many of these righteously offended compositionists. UnemployedProfessors.com is a paper mill based out of Montreal—but it’s not just any paper mill. If you’re going to pay $200 for someone else to write your essay for that professor who insists essay-writing is the most important part of college, then at least have that essay be written by another professor who believes that essay-writing is the most important part of college.

Dumb argument. Just dumb.

Students are gonna cheat, yes. And since they're gonna cheat, it seems, unemployed professors unscrupulously writing papers for these slacker students ought to have the opportunity.


She points to Unemployedprofessors.com, where students can go to post their writing needs and unemployed academics can fill that need, as a reason to call it quits on essay writing.

How low will we sink? Cheating and plagiarism is already a serious problem in most schools. Schuman's drive to reduce writing rigor and her specious reasons for featuring this ethically bankrupt website as a reason to support her ideas is beyond stupid.

(From unemployedprofessors.com. I certainly hope they see the irony here. This student is an ass.)

Look, students (and professors) we know you don't want to write (or read) these essays. Doesn't matter you can better discipline your brain by writing -- doing things that are hard -- and helping your students become better writers and thinkers -- also something hard -- by reading what they write. But that's all too much work. So just cut the assignment, accept that they cheat, and hey, make a buck to help them cheat.

Brave New World, here we come. Why work hard to become educated when we can just cheat our way through life and work with professors who just want to get paid rather than teaching about writing or reading those essays?

Seriously, Ms. Schuman, get out of teaching.

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