Parents Literally Climb the Walls of School to Help Kids Cheat -- Who Are We to Judge?

Good parents want to help their children succeed in life. But what hundreds of moms and dads recently did in India resulted in the suspension of 600 high school students: they, literally, climbed the wall of a building to help their kids cheat on a big exam. But the bigger picture is that education isn't equal and parents are doing what they can to level the playing field.

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The 10th grade students were taking a very important exam that determined whether they would get to go onto the next grade, so, clearly, they were under a lot of pressure. Adding to the intensity is the fact that India is a very poor country and oppportunities to succeed are not as plentiful as they are in the United States. A good education doesn't simply open doors in their world—it could mean the difference between starving and having food to eat.

The parents of these students were caught scaling the school building using ropes so that they could hand cheat sheets to their kids. This photo is a startling reminder of the lengths parents will go to to ensure their children are not left behind:

Here in the U.S., we constantly hear about parents who are willing to sacrifice everything to get their little ones into the right preschool, which will give them access to the right elementary and high schools, which, if everyone plays their cards right, means entry into an Ivy League university and the opportunity to make connections that could lead to a high-paying career.

There are fancy exam prep courses that cost thousands of dollars and that give kids from well-to-do families an advantage over those who come from middle class backgrounds or poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

Children from privileged backgrounds constantly cheat—assuming we take the definition of cheat to mean: "to avoid something undesirable by luck or skill." They get to avoid living a mediocre or extremely difficult life by benefiting from the lucky break they got being born into a family that can afford to teach them how to take a test, which is as important as remembering the facts you need to know for that exam.

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I'm not excusing the parents who scaled this building for their behavior, nor would I dream of giving a pass to any of the many parents in our country who do their kids' homework and projects because they fear their children aren't capable of doing the work themselves. The message we send kids when we do this is that we feel they are incompetent to stand on their own—and fail on their own when they deserve it.

But we shouldn't overlook the many ways parents and children cheat that aren't as plain as day as climbing a school building wall. At this moment in time, there is no such thing as equal access to a high-quality education and we're kidding ourselves if we believe this lie.

Do you think our education system is set up in an unfair way that encourages parents and students to cheat? 

 

Image via Alberto G./Flickr

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