Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Last week nearly 1.4 million students in India sat down to take a high-stakes exit exam. Around the world, students participate in forms of standardized testing all of the time, so why are these 10th grade exams making headlines? Because some of the kids’ parents were climbing up walls in an effort to help them pass the exam, that’s why.
Yes, you heard correctly—family members and friends were photographed scaling up several floors to hand off cheat sheets to students inside. It’s also been rumored that security and police officers were accepting bribes in exchange for turning a blind eye—not shocking considering just how many people were participating in the “climb.”
These parents want their children to succeed and, in many cases, India’s flawed education system is not allowing students to do so. According to the Washington Post, ”Education experts say that cheating is just a symptom of the deeper problems that plague India’s education system, such as teacher absenteeism, emphasis on rote learning and inadequate school infrastructure.”
Nearly two dozen Indian parents were apprehended and released hours later, and approximately 600 students were expelled as a result of the cheating, reports the Daily News.
If a student in India fails this exam, it’s likely that they will drop out of school, and these parents were trying to prevent that. They want their children to be educated and have opportunities that they may not have had themselves, and isn’t that what every parent wants for their child?
Lest we forget, systemic cheating has happened in our own country as well. Just a few years ago, Atlanta’s public school system came under harsh scrutiny after 178 teachers and principals in 44 schools confessed to cheating on numerous state-mandated exams.
I believe cheating is wrong, of course, and in no way should a parent, who is supposed to be their child’s role model, exemplify this type of behavior—but when I saw the images of these parents going to such great lengths to help their kids, I couldn’t help but feel just a tiny bit sympathic. What’s your take?
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Student using cheat sheet via Shutterstock
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Education, Parenting, The Parents Perspective
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Seven months ago, I wrote about my roundtable discussion with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan advocating for expanding public preschool offerings to low-income families. The plan calls for the federal government to subsidize states by up to 90 percent in their effort to make early-learning programs available to children whose families otherwise couldn’t afford them. President Obama sees it as an investment in their (and our) future, since children learn so much in preschool and attending a high-quality program prepares kids for kindergarten and the greater challenges beyond.
After months of behind-the-scenes negotiation, the idea finally has legislative form. Yesterday, the twin bills, called the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, were introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Anyone old enough to remember Schoolhouse Rock’s classic “I’m Just a Bill” knows that it’s easy for any proposed legislation to get stuck in committee on Capitol Hill. That is especially true right now: Our divided Congress seems more concerned with adhering to party ideologies than passing laws. Earlier this year, it failed to act on a measure that would require background checks for gun purchases despite the fact that more than 90 percent of Americans supported it.
Similarly, 70 percent of Americans favor increased public funding for universal preschool, including 60 percent of Republicans, according to a Daily Caller poll. The 10-year plan calls for federal grants to assist states in providing access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-K offerings. Its goal is to cover all 4-year-olds in families whose incomes fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty line ($46,000 for a family of four), as well as to improve early-learning opportunities and home visits for underprivileged kids 3 and under, according to the nonpartisan New America Foundation. The major stumbling block is the pricetag. Initially, President Obama hoped to fund the program by means of a cigarette tax. Predictably, big tobacco lobbied vehemently against this idea. Currently, the bills make no mention of where the money will come from. For an initiative that could cost $75 billion during the next decade, that is a major obstacle. Still, Strong Start has been praised by early-education advocates, teachers, and members of both parties. It likely won’t pass without extensive floor fights and compromise. But here’s hoping this bill has the mettle and determination of the cute little Schoolhouse Rock guy so that it, too, can become a law someday.
Wonder what career your child is destined for? Check out our quiz to find out.
Children and teacher playing with musical instruments in preschool via Shutterstock
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