Three people have been arrested in Beijing for running a high-tech college exam cheating scam. In the last few years, China has seen an increase in the amount of these crimes. Beijing considers the college entrance exams to be so important, they hold it under state security. So those caught cheating are usually doing so in a very inventive way. From cheating wallets and sneakers to paying off people in the offices to wear pinhole cameras, and taking pictures of the papers in order to take the test early and sell the answers to the exams prior to the exams.
The scam these three were running involved hidden microphones which the students would read aloud to themselves, and the three would sit in a van outside the building, receiving the question. They would then find the answer and read it back to the student through an ear-piece they wear.
College in China is held in high regard, and is considered to be the "make-or-break" point in life. So for many, getting into college is the only way they know in order to make it anywhere in life. But, what about here in America? What about New York, specifically? Personally, I didn't go to college, and I don't plan to. I'm not in the highest places of life either, but I also wouldn't call it bad. I work a job which pays my bills, and my dream of being a writer-director is slowly coming together, which is all that matters to me at the moment.
My girlfriend, on the other hand, does goes to college.
She started in a community college, in her hometown in Jersey. Soon she went onto another college in Philadelphia for psychology. She then started to feel that psychology is not the field she wanted to work in, and took the next few years off. Eventually deciding she was going to go the same route I am and make films, she went back to college, this time here in NYC.
Holding a 3.94 GPA, she's working her ass off and it shows. After just 6 months of being there, she was invited to join the Alpha Chi Honors Society. Something which she said initially bothered her about being there, and which even I'm noticing seems to be true, seems to be getting worse. This educational system doesn't work.
One of her professors is being accused of, among other things, bullying students and not doing her job as a teacher to ensure their educations. They say she doesn't give them proper grades and is too tough on them, at the end of the semester, giving them an Incomplete and forcing them to take the class over again. So there's a formal investigation being held on this issue.
Adding to that, the Dean whom the complaint was filed with, is also known to have a personal grudge against this professor. So, even at a college student level, we see the cornerstone of our political system at work; it's who you know, not what you know.
However, thats not the real issue here. The issue here is what would cause them to bring up a complaint like this, against a tenured professor? The educational system creates it.
The final grade of Incomplete means that the student did not fulfill the requirements for the course, but has not failed it. Either the student was unable to either grasp the concepts, or did not learn everything needed to pass the class, through no fault of their own. So, the grade allows the student to take the course again in the next semester, without having to pay for it again.
Although, what do you do with students who who do not meet the requirements to even take the class? Students who do not possess the level of comprehension it takes to form a cohesive sentence? It seems to me, in urban environments, you are more likely to encounter this type of student. Maybe it's the system in general, or maybe the ratio is the same everywhere, but with a more densely populated area, it becomes easier to spot these disadvantaged students.
In a town of 20,000 people, you would have possibly 2 high schools, each with a population of maybe 1,000 students; let's push the envelope a bit and say 4,000 each. That means 40% of the town is in high school. Put the same percentage to a place like NYC, we have 8 million people, equaling to 3.5 million high school students. Is it possible to ensure that all 3.5 million of those students have and are continuing to meet the requirements of schooling? Yes, it's entirely possible, but only if the parents of the student actually give a damn.
Recently the case has been, I'm sure everyone has seen it, that the kids seem to be getting less and less aware of the things around them. It's almost as if it's "cool" to be stupid. Technically it's always been that way. The "cool" kids in class were not the over-achievers. But, they weren't the under-achievers either. They just happened to be the best looking or most witty of the middle-ground students.
The smart kids got picked on in school, just for being smart. Nowadays though, the under-achievers are the cool kids, and everyone wants to be one of them. They seem unable to make fun of the smart kids anymore, because they don't even understand what level they themselves are even on. The kids with higher grades aren't seen as smart anymore by their peers. The other students just assume they're sucking up to the teacher, because theres no way anyone could actually use their brain, right?
I'm not discussing just children here, this includes the kids in and leaving high school as well.
When a college professor gives one of those "Explain the importance of..." assignments, and the student actually writes "no what im sayin?" as part of their explanation, and actually expects to pass the class, who is at fault for that? The student for being dumb? The teachers who let them slide all those years? The parents who never paid enough attention to their child's education to see that their child has no grasp of basic communication skills?
For a point in time, I was working in the mail room at a law firm, and on a constant basis I would see the 19-20-21 year olds come in for their interviews; Wrinkled heavy red/white cotton polo shirt, blue tie with their gold high school insignia on it draped loosely around their neck (of course, if it isn't a clip-on), shirt tucked loosely into their dark baggy blue jeans, and all white sneakers. Oh, don't forget the baseball cap with the tag hanging from it, and hologram sticker under the brim.
Not even 10 minutes later, you see them leaving the office in a huff, because they didn't get the job. Communication skills go farther than just the ability to form a sentence. It's in your demeanor, your conversation, it's even in your handwriting. No one is perfect, but some of us actually try to improve ourselves and surroundings on a daily basis.
Even the creators of BrooWaha, for example. They've created something which thrives on the thoughts and points of view of real people, not high paid "reporters" who have writers, editors and proofreaders. But who are these "real" people anyway? The masses? The everyday average D-Student who went nowhere and has no ambition to either? I don't think so. They're people with brains, thoughts and opinions. Not the under-achievers, because the thought of going online for any reason other than a MySpace hook-up and porn never enters their mind.
Maybe thats where it comes from.. The mediocre students made it to the top because they were pretty enough to get on TV. With the help of the smart kids who became writers, editors and proofreaders, they had someone to cover-up their mistakes. Now the under-achievers are gaining in numbers, and becoming the norm, forcing the rest of us to pick up the slack more than ever.
Where does that leave us? The ones who want to be smarter, the ones who enjoy thinking, reasoning, and problem solving? The ones who read over their articles, papers and blog posts 50 times to ensure there's no errors, and when we publish and realize it's missing a comma, we consider removing it just for that tiny mundane detail. That leaves us sitting in classrooms being taught things at a slower pace, just so the rest can catch up. Not even because they are unable to catch up, just because they never tested their mental capacity before. Since it goes over their head, they just call school boring, and when it comes time to write a thesis, just copy and paste from Wikipedia and pray the professor doesn't notice.
The irony in that is that as the class gets taught at a slower rate, it bores the smart kids, who have probably read ahead just to keep from falling asleep. So who actually are the bored ones?
I guess thats just how it's always been, and always will be. If the majority of people are under-achievers, then it's no surprise our president has no clue of how to convey any minuscule thought he may have about the lives of fish. But is it really that big of a favor to ask for a conversation that doesn't involve the use of "son" "kid" or that ugly N-Word, once in a while?
Using slang is one thing, but don't get pissed at your professor after she fails you when you refer to Abraham Lincoln as "Da nigga dat freed da slaves, yo!"
WORLD - AN EDGE IN MY VOICE
Copyright © 2010 Hunter Addams
The Bored Of Education
Copyright © 2010 Hunter Addams
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