TheRealSharon's Blog

{September 4, 2011}   Cheating for a Career

We all have heard of people cheating by plagiarizing, getting others to do their papers for them and paying for papers online(which seems to be the newest thing). But recently I read an article entitled, “The Cheating Epidemic”, that shocked and disturbed me completely.

A “ghost writer” is a person who writes for another person who is presumed to be the author. Many celebrities use ghost writers to do their biographies or books for them. They do this usually through recording conversations with the celebrity or even taking their written words and editing them and thus, turning them into a book. I knew about this and although, it seemed partly unfair for the ghostwriter to go unnoticed, I do not consider this cheating because it’s the celebrity’s story in the book, the ghost writer simply tells it in a neat and orderly way.

I also knew of sites online where people can pay fees to buy papers that are already done for them. Those papers are obviously done by a “ghostwriter” that doesn’t get credit for it. I never personally used these types of sites but I considered them cheating and I’ve always been big on honesty. Admittedly, I’ve always been fairly comfortable with writing, so papers never scared me like some other people I knew. I wasn’t surprised to read that people were willing to pay hundreds or even thousands to acquire papers through these means, but I found it shocking how many actually do. Even more shocking were the TYPES of people that HAVE used ghost writers to do not only papers but online testing for them. I was flabbergasted to find out that there are people out there with legitimate PhD”s and Bachelor’s, etc. who have cheated their way into getting these degrees!

The author used a pseudonym and his article, that I found in a Reader’s Digest, was taken directly from The Chronicle of Higher Education. He started out by telling about a particular request that came to him at one time from someone he had helped before. This student was asking for a proposal for her business ethics class. Wow, I thought to myself. A business ETHICS student cheating…

The “author” works for an online company that makes tens of thousands of dollars doing papers for college students. The staff at his company, at the time of the article, was about 50 writers and still not enough to manage the requests. He estimates he will make about $66,000 this year alone. According to this article, the New York Times reported 61% of undergrads last summer have admitted to SOME kind of cheating.

But wait until you hear some of the stuff this particular ghost writer has actually written!

“I’ve written toward a master’s degree in cognitive psychology, a PhD in sociology, and a handful of postgraduate credits in international diplomacy. I’ve worked on bachelor degrees in hospitality, business administration, and accounting. I’ve written for courses in history, cinema, labor relations,pharmacology,theology,sports management,maritime security,airline services,sustainability,municipal budgeting,marketing,philosophy,ethics, Eastern religion,postmodern architecture,anthropology,literature, and public administration. I’ve completed 12 graduate theses of 50 pages or more. But you won’t find my name on a single paper.”

Reading all of THAT, it sounds to me like this author should have a degree in a majority of this stuff himself. But then I think about people who work in these industries and wonder how many are actually qualified for what they now do? Even though I only have a simple Associate’s in Theatre, it seems a big slap in the face to know that some people are working highly paid jobs and they didn’t do the work to get into that position. Somehow I could expect people going into politics to be cheaters, that seems to fit the job well, but people going into ETHICS? THEOLOGY?

So then I wondered is it just lazy people who cheat? People that might actually have the intellect but are too lazy? No. Turns out the author cites three specific demographics as the ones that seek him out the most: “The English-as-second-language student, the hopelessly deficient student, and the lazy rich kid.”

For the English as a second language student and the hopelessly deficient, the author blames schools and colleges for letting them down. He says they are failing to put more focus on grades rather than education. If a student isn’t able to master English quick enough(and this goes for kids who were brought up in an English speaking home), they feel they will never make it on their own, so they go to “ghost writers” as a quick and easy fix to mastering it quickly. As for the lazy, rich kid…let’s face it, society seems to reward those with money. Don’t feel like doing something? Pay someone else to do it. This theory seems to have worked for many who have made it to the top, so why not them?

So, people pay for their papers to be done for them? You may be thinking, OK, so they still have to do their own exams, right? Therefore, they can’t get away without learning something. Well, that’s what I thought to. Turns out, not even THAT may be true.

This ghost writer has actually completed various courses for others through using THEIR user names and passwords. He has completed exams this way and even done weekly discussions with the other students. He has also provided several students with their admissions essays. Astounding. Any of this disturbing YOU as it did me?

What kinds of students does he work with the most? You will probably be as surprised as I was when I tell you. He admits to doing work for seminary students, who despite their goal, don’t seem to think of cheating as wrong. “Nursing students account for one of my company’s biggest customer bases.” I am seriously crossing my fingers right now that this is just out of being purely dead tired from their crazy shifts and NOT a sign of an overabundance of non-skilled nurses in the future. He also cites teachers as a big base, which saddens me deeply because the state of America’s education system is bad enough already.

How did he get into this line of work? He was a writer, bored of his college classes and turned down on his idea of doing an independent study around editing and publishing his first novel. His classmates saw in him what the university failed to see and started paying him for doing papers. He was good at it and it was a way to make good money. So far, he has never heard of even one of his customers getting caught.

So why did he decide to come forward and tell his story NOW? In his words: “I’m planning to retire. I’m tired of helping make America’s students look competent.”

Sadly, there will still be many other ghost writers out there getting paid to do the hard work for college students. While more colleges seem to be getting tougher about cracking down on cheating, you wonder if they will ever be able to stop people paying others to do their OWN papers? I don’t see that they will ever be able to, but in a dream world, there would be people who would refuse to continue paying. People who were honest and ethical who would put a stop to this through ending the demand, thereby doing away with the need for supply.

Besides, if this sort of thing doesn’t end soon, who would be educated enough to even DO the papers for those willing to pay?

But maybe THAT would also be a good thing cause then students would be forced to actually learn and do their OWN work!

et cetera
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