Weighing In on Stuyvesant Cheating Scandal

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The news that 71 Stuyvesant High School students will have to retake their state exams because of cheating has raised questions about test pressure, the uneven application of the cellphone ban and a possible double standard when it comes to punishment. Six students will be suspended and a seventh may have to switch schools. WNYC's Brian Lehrer opened the phones and the comments flooded in.

A 2006 Stuyvesant graduate said he was not surprised when he heard about the cheating: "There's a lot of pressure there. There's pressure from friends, from your family, your school."

But an online commenter took issue with the suggestion that pressure at a top specialized high school was unique.

"Every student in NYC experiences this pressure. Why are the excuses sounding so defensive towards these students?" she said. "Cheating is cheating in a low performing school and in a high performing school. What else will these student do in the future to get ahead?"

Many comments likened the cheating to behavior by bankers on Wall Street, and suggested society's emphasis on money and the rat race was illustrated in this cheating scandal. Others bemoaned that the students weren't necessarily mastering the material they needed to know.

"It is so sad that America is now ranked 26th in the world in mathematics," a teacher wrote. "I teach math across the street from Stuyvesant and I do not tolerate cheating and monitor students closely. I emphasize the joy and value of learning and I hope my students have picked up some of these values during their education rather than just memorizing the quadratic formula!"

The New York Times has an excellent online debate on cheating that amplifies many of the issues raised by the recent scandal at Stuyvesant.