Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Response to "The Shadow Scholar"

Is it okay to say that this guy is kind of my hero? Probably not, but I'll say it anyway.
While I do understand, that the English department might find the idea of creating an independent study around editing a novel laughable, I believe that they should have at least considered it. Some of the teachers I've had would be willing to tackle such a task. if even one student is willing to go that extra mile, it reflects well on the teachers and teaching community as a whole. It might also inspire other students to follow in the student's footsteps.
That being said, cheating is still wrong, and the education system is not entirely to blame for this phenomenon. The American sense of entitlement goes a long way to support this kind of behavior. "I deserve to graduate, because I'm in school, and I paid for this."
You (the archetypal "you") paid for a chance to succeed and work your tail off. If you didn't do that, you "deserve" to flip burgers or better yet switch places with a kid in Africa or Indonesia who works harder than you but will NEVER have the opportunities you have.
(Wo)Man up and buckle down.


  1. Hey! Ya, I'm inclined to be impressed with the guy. While I don't condone the behavior of the kids who cheat, what this man is doing is simply filling an economical niche, and brilliantly. He saw an opportunity and took it; it's capitalism at its best (worst?). I don't think we can blame the waterboy for people being thirsty.

    I think the whole story is a bit of an expose of the education system as a whole. a) This writer clearly has talent, it's a shame people didn't notice that or cultivate it (it's still his choice to drop out of college though). b) The rich pay-for-a-grade folks will always be around. However, the other groups are fueled by desperation. I think it's unfortunate that those so desperate don't know about/don't use the resources available to them, so have to pay for an assignment. Perhaps in addition to teachers we need better advisors: people who know how to work a system in a legal way, so students don't have to flounder.

  2. I wanted to do an independent study too, and they wouldn't let me. I think that is an awesome idea. Maybe something you could tackle in grad-school? I've heard of programs that do that.