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Cheating students reflect wider culture

Readers' Letters
by: JAIME VALDEZ A recent survey showed that 80 percent of students at Lincoln High School admitted to cheating in class, which has become easier with the aid of the Internet and cell phones.

Apparently we can't stop perpetuating these brainless stereotypes (Cheating easy as A-B-C, Feb. 24). Politicians and policemen? What about all the entertainment stars, Wall Street executives, mortgage brokers (or for that matter, many of their loan customers) who are just as 'used to lying' as anyone?

Or the large number of citizens who feel it is acceptable to shade the truth on their tax returns as much as they feel they can get away with? The acceptance of cheating among our kids is just a reflection of the widespread tolerance of dishonesty among our adults.

Jim Gardner

Southwest Portland

This generation has its problems

NEXT generation? So what's the excuse for the current crop of liars running - or is that ruining - the country (Cheating easy as A-B-C, Feb. 24)?

Susan Viator

Fairview

Grades already are inflated

I have two observations to make about the story 'Cheating easy as A-B-C' (Feb. 24):

Recently in The Oregonian, there was a story stating that any high school graduate in the state with a grade point average of 3.4 would be automatically accepted into our state universities. My first reaction was that when I graduated 50-plus years ago, before grade inflation, my 3.3 GPA would have kept me out of our state schools, even though I graduated third in my class. (Our valedictorian had a 3.5.)

If so many students today are cheating, of what value are their inflated GPAs? I guess not much.

Secondly, in the print edition of the Tribune, the story right next to (the end of the cheating story) was about the huge illegal advertising signs covering the walls of buildings around town (City assigns worker to target illegal signs, Feb. 24). The city, because of budget concerns, has had to cut back on enforcement and the fines are so small that some 'adults' in advertising companies have no problem at all with cheating - if they can make a fast buck.

Marilyn Finn

Southeast Portland

Substance, rigor most important part of class

Both 'editorials' are a matched pair - Eric Bergmann's thoughtful analysis of causes and his exhortation that the community look at the root cause (Short cuts won't stop cheating, March 17), and the two students from Dave Bailey's class at Lincoln High School (Create high price for cheating, March 17).

I think both editorial writers should read each other's efforts. And both articles would be excellent starter for schools, parents, leadership classes to open the conversation.

Substance and rigor in the teaching and learning experience - for ALL involved - is the mantra we all need to support and clarify.

Thank you, Portland Tribune, for getting the issue into print.

Bruce E. Richards

Beaverton

Adults show kids how to cheat

Portland Public Schools students will NOT be taught in math class, current events class or any other class that their parents, teachers, school staff and school board have been co-conspirators for decades in cheating on the annual PPS public budgets by omitting the true costs of maintenance, capital improvements and unfunded liabilities.

Nevertheless they will learn about it anyway. One can hear in their minds, 'Why is it OK for our authority-figure adults to cheat the taxpayers on public PPS budgets, but not OK for us to cheat on tests? Because they think their chances of getting caught and punished are very slim, and so do we.'

These children will not be taught that some people may be taxed out of their homes and apartments by the PPS tax increase.

These children will not be taught in economics class that raising taxes in a recession, in a state with 10.6 percent unemployment and billions of dollars of revenue shortfall, is bad economics and a very bad idea.

These children will not be taught that many if not most of the people and corporations that contributed to the PPS tax hike campaign are in it for the money.

Richard Ellmyer

North Portland

Teachers need to take charge

Simple solutions: 1. Put teachers - not kids - in charge of the room. 2. No cell phones in the classroom.

Why can't schools get this simple idea in their heads?

Tony Rowland

Goldendale, Wash.

Crisis teams are a necessity

It is not the 40-hour intensive Crisis Intervention Team training that makes officers experts at handling these types of calls (Crisis training for all police is not a 'flaw,'' Feb. 24).

It's that if you have a team it usually equates to one-fourth of the patrol officers who now wear the CIT pin handling at least three times the mental illness crisis calls that they're used to. With time, that is what makes them experts. And because they volunteered to do this, their hearts are in it.

When (CIT officers) are going to an address where a mental crisis is happening, they have probably been there before; probably built a relationship with the person in crisis and their family; and probably know how to de-escalate this particular situation from past experience.

I do, however, believe that all officers should get more training at the state academies for cadets and in-service training for officers about mental illness.

Not just any officer can be a member of the SWAT team, nor would we want that. Not just any officer can or should be a member of the CIT team - but there should be a team.

Michael S. Woody

President, CIT International Inc.

Uniontown, Ohio

Police Bureau must change

The concept of effectively training each Portland Police Bureau member is grand. Expecting such training to have some real effect on the entire bureau is ludicrous (Crisis training for all police is not a 'flaw,' Feb. 24).

There are a lot of Portland Police Bureau members who are 'Gung Ho' cops. It's not in their nature to stand down and wait for appropriate assistance when they are face to face with some scrawny-looking dude who ignores their commands to 'Get down on the ground.' They may not have found the opportunity to use deadly force yet, but (it's) guaranteed they've deployed their Taser when it wasn't absolutely necessary.

Portland Police Bureau needs help. Seriously, it is up to this community to demand that they implement the correct changes.

Kyle J. Hanson

Southeast Portland