Plano: Cheating No Biggie

It's like what you wanted in junior high, but are now glad you never got

While doing homework was never exactly fun, the results of not doing it were invariably less fun, for most who remember their school days. Cheating also seemed a viable route to many 11-year-old minds, until teachers brought to their attention the severe consequences of such conduct.

Yet Plano ISD might follow a new current trend in education that reduces penalties for students or eliminates the assignments all together. The school district is considering changes, such as excluding homework for middle school students, not grading any homework that was assigned, and easing deducations for late work, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The most egregious change would be substituting the policy of giving an automatic zero for cheating, with giving the student an alternative assignment or consequence that would not affect their grade.

The ideas came about as part of a middle school grading and assessment committee the Plano ISD established In September of 2007.

The school district’s official statement asserts that they had not yet discussed the issues at the school board level. But certain Plano ISD emails obtained by the Dallas Morning News showed that school officials hoped to implement the new policy next school year, until several teachers “raised concerns they wouldn’t be able to hold students accountable.”

Which version is accurate remains unclear.

The school district gave no expressed objective they hoped to achieve with these changes, except that they wanted to align better with the philosophy that “grades should be the most accurate reflection of student knowledge and achievement.”

Holly LaFon is a Dallas journalist who has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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