According to Randall Denley in today’s Ottawa Citizen, it seems that the Ottawa Board of Education is actually considering a policy that will not only not punish students for plagiarising, but also cause teachers to “explore whether there are extenuating circumstances that led up to the academic fraud”. This follows on the heels of an existing policy that prevents educators from penalizing students for not delivering assignments on time, or submitting incomplete assignments.
The article continues, “School superintendent Jennifer Adams explains that modern educational theory suggests that students should be marked on work they complete, not on what they fail to do. That’s why, when a student is caught plagiarizing, “we’re saying it shouldn’t be an automatic zero,” Adams says.”
I assume this is the same ‘modern educational theory’ that has resulted in a younger generation that is largely incapable of stringing together a complete, intelligible sentence. It is the same ‘modern education theory’ that has resulted in an entire generation that has no inkling of the difference between their, they’re, and there. And it is the same ‘modern education theory’ that has graduated into the workforce thousands upon thousands of students whose spelling (in)abilities would have been embarrassing to a 10-year-old thirty years ago.
When we allow education theorists (as opposed to educators) determine how best to educate our young, this is what we get, a generation of self-serving illiterates who come out of our school systems with no concept of responsibility, accountability or commitment. Having seen ample evidence of this during my management years I am convinced, but if the reader is still in doubt about how bad it really is check out any blog, forum, or Facebook entry on the web.
It’s time to take away the keys to the vault and send these theorists back to academia where their damage will be limited to those few unfortunate souls who have them as professors. And in the meantime, don’t be surprised if we in the West continue to lose ground to graduates from those “unenlightened” countries (typically in the Far East) who still believe in the value of a proper education and student responsibilities.