Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On the NYC cheating scandal


A student at [Brooklyn's] Stuyvesant HS has been booted for allegedly using a cellphone during a Regents exam last week—exposing a far-reaching cheating ring involving more than 50 students at the school.
One can tell by the tone of the lede that educationists are falling all over themselves regarding this violation of education's most sacrosanct of traditions. And therein lies the problem: The administration of these 19th century tests in their present form has long passed, but the Board of Regents continues to administer them in the same antiquated manner. As generals invariably find themselves "fighting the preceding war," so too do schools consistently find themselves behind the times when it comes to participating in contemporary society. If I can ascertain the number of calories in a product just by pointing my iPhone at its bar code, then the days of pencil and paper tests have long passed. The issue, of course, is money. Schools simply cannot keep up with the technological times. This is unfortunate, but is the reason I don't share the hysteria regarding Nayeem Ahsan that the NYC schools and media do. And it certainly won't get better. In the meantime, students will be using 21st century technologies while schools try to figure out how to combat them—instead of trying to employ them.