Well, we don’t actually know about those cheating pumpkin eaters, but 64 percent of the nation’s teens say they’ve cheated on tests and 36 percent have plagiarized, according to a major study by the Josephson Institute, and 30 percent have stolen something from a store. The study, which included 29,760 high school students from across the nation, also found that 83 percent of them had lied to their parents about something major. And, in what New York Times columnist Lisa Belkin calls the most “jarring” news of all, not only had 93 percent professed themselves “satisfied with their personal ethics,” but 26 percent admitted they lied on the survey about lying. (Which reminds us of that old riddle about the tribe that always tells the truth, the tribe that always fibs and some question or other. Is a lie about lying a lie? And shouldn’t we be plagiarizing that joke right about now?)
Some educators think the grim news is a natural outcome of the increasingly high pressure world of high school, grades and college admissions. Others are appalled. What do you think?