Everybody does it

From Number 2 Pencil’s cheating round-up comes this New York Post story on teen-agers who think honesty is the best policy — except when it’s inconvenient.

A national survey of 24,763 high-schoolers found 62 percent of them admitted cheating on a school test in the past 12 months, 27 percent stole something from a store during that period, and 40 percent admit they “sometimes lie to save money.”

In a telling twist, nearly a third didn’t even tell the truth on the integrity survey: 29 percent of the students polled by the Josephson Institute of Ethics ‘fessed up to fibbing on one or two of the more than 60 questions.

But, despite owning up to dishonest behavior, a whopping 98 percent of the students believe “honesty and trust are essential in personal relationships” ó and 83 percent said at least half their acquaintances would put their name on a list of “the most ethical people they know.”

Depends who you know.

Most students agreed that “in the real world, successful people do what they have to do to win, even if others consider it cheating.”

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Comments

  1. Bluemount says:

    We expect kids to understand the business of lying in advertising, politics and crime investigation. Schools are major players in promoting these establishments as power centers and leadership as the goal of education. Kids are put in postitions of influence and frequently plied with surveys that invade the privacy of their families. Lying to strangers or not speaking up is a common behavior even if among people who consider themselves honest. What kids are loosing is respect for intimate relationships.

  2. “”in the real world, successful people do what they have to do to win, even if others consider it cheating.” ”

    Depends on how you define “successful.” If you define it as “having integrity in your personal dealings and keeping the trust of others, even if it means you have less material gain,” then successful people are people who don’t cheat.

    Perhaps we need to examine the values we’re passing on to our children, while we are bemoaning their lack of integrity.