Why Kids Must Cheat in School

When G.W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind law on January 8, 2002,
he set the standard for test scores deciding the future for schools and students.
Produce good test numbers or no government money. Deliver or perish was the message from Washington, D.C.

Superintendents of school met with Principals, who held Town Halls with their Teachers, who gave an earful to students each-and-every-day. If you do not at least pass, and at most, ace these government sponsored exams – you aint graduating high school, going to college, or ever have a life in these United States.

Teachers motivate their students by using threats of failure. Stress and anxiety is the
direct cause for massive cheating on exams, home work, and reports. Students want
to get into name (prestigious) universities, not community colleges, in order to
get hired by Fortune 500 companies for Big Bucks. It’s all about Dinero, right?

How Much Cheating

On 8.11.09 the American Psychological Association held their annual meeting at
Toronto, Canada. Professor Eric Anderman, Ohio State University delivered his paper on school cheating in the U.S.

“Cheating among students is widespread and growing. Eighty (80%) percent of high achievers in high school, in our national study, accepted cheating as SOP (standard operating procedure). Stress and anxiety is the primary cause.”

Seventy-five percent of college students in another national survey agreed cheating was as American as Apple Pie. Most found it the cool thing to do. It saved study time, produced higher grades, and opened the door to a better career.

Over 50% of high school graduates do not attend college based on disinterest, poor
educational skills, and financial challenges. The high school dropout rate is about
30%; minority kids make up 75% of dropouts. It is a tough societal game.

Who is Willie Sutton

The Hall of Fame American bank robber was Willie Sutton. Born in Greenpoint,
Brooklyn in 1901, he successful defeated over 100 U.S. bank security systems.
The Federal government estimates he earned $2 million dollars in his career,
and spent half his adult life behind bars.

Mr. Sutton died November 2, 1980, age 79, of old age, a legend in his own
time. Willie never injured anyone during his thirty-year exploits, and was considered a Robin Hood by the Depression public.

Willie S always went to work with a pistol and a Thompson submachine gun, neither of which were loaded.

The wits said, “Willie Sutton stole from the rich, (not the poor like the bankers) and quietly kept it for his old age.” On March 20, 1960, he achieved MVP status by being listed on America’s Most Wanted by the FBI.

Why Did He Rob Banks

“It is a cliché and urban myth that Willie answered – “because that is where they keep the money!” He said that response was too self-evident, and corny.

“Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than any other time of my life. It was like a Chinese meal, about a week later, I
felt the need to repeat the experience. It was never the Big Bucks; the money was just chips in poker game.”

Listen to this: Willie said there was three (3) reasons he enjoyed his occupation.

a) Autonomy – I was self-employed, and controlled my own destiny.

b) Mastery – each success proved I was an expert, and had mastered my trade. I had 10,000 hours of experience in my profession, and could
pass on my knowledge base to interested initiates.

c) Purpose – my field of endeavor permitted me to create my own working
conditions, hours, and executive compensation. What I accomplished was
beyond myself, something greater than myself. It was my purpose to improve my skills, strategies and knowledge. I became a life-long learner.

He was once asked by a reporter from Time Magazine, “Why not an ordinary job?”

“When you go to work at Time, is there excitement that stirs your blood, and makes
you feel alive and kicking? When I went to work my senses were on overdrive, and
drove me like a Caddy at 110 mph. One other thing made it all worthwhile, I out-earned those high school and college graduates, and all those professionals.

You may have forgotten, I finished school at 8th grade.”

In his last years Willie Sutton was a consultant to banks on preventing robberies.
Many of them were on his list of 100 missions. He did a famous tv commercial for
American Express. “I won’t leave home without it.” He needed proof he was really
the infamous arch villain – Willie Suttton.

He is buried in the family plot in Brooklyn, N.Y. He coined a byline (motto) he used
in public – “Go where the money is, and go there often.” Not too dumb advice for entrepreneurs.


When I asked my two-sons about the cheating in school, they looked at me like I had
two-heads. “Everyone cheats at school, Dad. It is the cool thing to do.”
Let that roll around your neocortex for a while. Are we being judgmental? Sure.

Perhaps it explains the Wall Street fiasco, the Sub-Par Mortgages, and nice guy,
Bernie Madoff – who blamed the investors for giving him their $65 Billion. The
only problem is learning the role of victim after being Robin Hood so long.

Consider the three standards of motivation: We remember it as AMP - like the electricity.

a) Autonomy – self-governing – being your own boss.
b) Mastery – turning yourself into an expert.
c) Purpose – doing something greater and beyond yourself with your life.


Are you exclusively motivated by money and bonuses? How about Autonomy –
Mastery – and Purpose in life? Do you remember anything from the scores of
tests you have taken in your lifetime?

Cheating is not the way, but neither is test-taking.

Would it improve your competitive standing at school and your career to read
three (3) text books, articles and reports, in the time your peers can hardly finish
one? How about doubling your long-term memory? Ask us how – now.

copyright © 2009
H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Best Seller, Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's.
Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating 2 million,
including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents.

Interviewed by Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine

www.speedlearning.org hbw@speedlearning.org 1-877-567-2500