The Short and Long Term Impact of Cheating on Students (part 2)

I am blogging this week about the tragedy that surfaced last week in the Atlanta Public School system. The story has gone nationwide; in fact, I just did an interview with the Washington Post, where journalists are grieving the scandal—teachers and administrators changing the answer to students’ test scores in order to pass them through the system and get money for it. Apparently, learning is no longer the objective for some educators. Instead, it’s their own survival.  Yesterday, I suggested what the short-term impact on the students might be. Today—let’s imagine what the long-term impact may be.


  1. Waves of depression coming and going. A student who’s passed on to the next grade when they have failed to demonstrate they are ready will eventually spiral. Life will either ambush them or they’ll likely sabotage themselves.
  2. The inability to compete in a global economy. Students in India and China who’ve achieved legitimately will surpass our artificial graduates in the U.S. There are more honor students in China than all students in the U.S. This will only make it worse.
  3. Expediency will rule the day, not moral leadership. Adults have modeled pitiful coping mechanisms to survive: just cheat. We cannot expect our kid’s ethics/values to be trustworthy if they made progress by cheating.
  4. Job hopping. They’ll be unable to work hard and follow through. Success has been easy and artificial. With no consequences to actions, long-term commitment will atrophy. By 2030, we may see five-year marriage contracts and few long-term jobs.

I wish I could say this is an isolated incident. Unfortunately, other cheating scandals have emerged around the country, including in Washington D.C. I’m angry about this disgrace, where adults care more about their money and their reputation than about the kids they are teaching. When education becomes more about teacher tenure and security than about student success, it’s time to overhaul the system.

What do you think?


The Short and Long Term Impact of Cheating on Students (part 2)