Efforts Under Way To Curb Student Dishonesty Says LSU AgCenter Character Educator

John W. Arceneaux  |  4/19/2005 10:28:40 PM

News You Can Use For September 2004

Would you like to cut cheating at your school? Your school, community and, ultimately, society could benefit from a systematic and sustained effort to instill honesty and integrity, says LSU AgCenter state 4-H Character Education coordinator Johnny Arceneaux.

According to a 2002 survey of more than 12,000 high school students by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, 74 percent admitted cheating at least once within the past 12 months (48 percent said they cheated at least twice).

Things are getting worse, Arceneaux notes, explaining that in 1992, 61 percent admitted cheating. When it comes to lying and stealing, the statistics are no more encouraging: 37 percent said they would be willing to lie to get a good job; 46 percent said they sometimes lie to save money, and 43 percent agreed with the statement that "a person has to lie or cheat sometimes in order to succeed."

Thirty-eight percent said they stole something from a store within the past year (19 percent did so two or more times), and 28 percent said they stole from a parent or other relative.

Last April ABC aired a special edition of Primetime that focused on the alarmingly cynical attitudes and widespread cheating in high schools and colleges.

Michael Josephson, president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics and founder of the Character Counts! Coalition, appeared on the program calling for schools and parents to more aggressively and consistently promote integrity and prevent cheating.

Josephson’s words struck a chord with educators and parents, hundreds of whom sent e-mails asking about solutions. In response to the nationwide interest, the Josephson Institute developed Honor Above All, an initiative dedicated to helping teachers and administrators create a structured and comprehensive approach to developing school cultures of good work ethics and character – climates where students and staff place "honor above all."

Arceneaux says Honor Above All and the supporting educational materials have a twofold purpose: 1) To assist parents, teachers, coaches and others who regularly interact with youngsters in promoting more consistently and effectively an understanding of, love for and commitment to personal integrity and 2) To provide specific strategies and techniques to reduce the willingness and ability to cheat or plagiarize.

Louisiana 4-H, through the LSU AgCenter, sponsors Character Counts! and Honor Above All in Louisiana. Character education materials, teacher and community training are available in each parish.

Arceneaux says to learn about the materials and services available, contact your parish LSU AgCenter office. In addition, he recommends visiting the Character Education section under the Louisiana 4-H Web site: http://www.louisiana4h.org/

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
On the Internet: Louisiana 4-H Web site: http://www.louisiana4h.org
Source: John Arceneaux (225) 578-2196, or JArceneaux@agcenter.lsu.edu

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