Recent Education Commentaries

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The Ethics Corps
Early in 1995 I was working for a motivational speaker who needed a talk on ethics. I had just finished writing a magazine article on the creation of the Lone Ranger and, in the course of the article, revealed that the character had been created around a set of ethical values in order to teach young radio listeners the importance...
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February 14, 2011
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A League of Their Own
In my book, What Do You Stand For?, holocaust survivor Judy Meisel writes, “The statement, ‘What can I do, I’m only one person?’ upsets me. One person can do a lot!” That phrase came to mind while I was reading a paper from one of my New Hampshire students. “I have done some good things for people, but I have done more...
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January 28, 2011
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Educating Jim
“Why do we study ethics? What does it mean to be a person of character, integrity, honor?” Those were the questions I posed to students at the beginning of a week-long class at the New Hampshire Technical Institute on ethics. “Most people want to do the right thing,” I said. “They want to be worthy of the respect and admiration...
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January 26, 2011
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Examined Life 101
To begin with… it was cold. The kind of cold that makes a New Hampshire apple snap with juicy flavor. Unfortunately January is not apple time, and I was not there to enjoy the fruit of the state but the fruit of knowledge.  (I know… I know. This explains why I’m not Robert Frost.) I arrived at the New Hampshire Technical...
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January 24, 2011
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A Cup of Good Joe
One of the things that distinguish great sports figures from the rest of the pack is their direct and honest approach to both their work and their life. They consistently strive to live up to their own highest standards for both themselves and the rest of us. A good example is Joe Paterno, Head Football Coach for the Nittany Lions...
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February 26, 2010
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Gaming the System
Just when I thought I finished covering high school cheating, I received word from former Washington Post columnist, current high school teacher Colman McCarthy about the latest scandal taking place at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. According to the Post (Feb. 5) disciplinary action will be taken “…against seven students who were allegedly involved in a computer-hacking scheme in which grades were changed,  » Read...
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February 8, 2010
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Risky II
Last week, I spoke to four High School classes about the importance of honesty and trust. As part of their take-home assignment, I asked them to answer a six question survey – part of a national survey given to High School students across the country by The Josephson Institute of Ethics. They only have to respond “Yes,” or “No.” 1. In personal...
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February 5, 2010
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Risky Business
“If you could take a drug that would improve your test-taking ability by 25%,” I asked a group of High School students, “but the drug was illegal, would you take it? “How illegal?” one student asked. Although everyone laughed, this student’s response clearly mimicked behavior by some adults with a keen ability to parse an issue in order to justify unethical...
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February 3, 2010
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Rogue Tutors
Rationalizations, I collect ‘em like baseball cards. “Everybody does it”; “They owe it to me,” two of my All Stars. Here’s what one client told me in a pre-talk interview justifying his company unethically obtaining inside information on a bid to get the jump on the competition:  “You don’t understand, Jim. We don’t want to do these things, but if we...
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October 16, 2009
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Every time I look at Emancipation Oak, on the grounds of Hampton University in Virginia, I think of the time I spent talking to students and teachers. A conversation with Dr. Freddye Davy of Hampton’s Honors College led to her using my What Do You Stand For? questionnaire in an essay contest for the school’s annual President’s Award. All thirty-two submissions...
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August 12, 2009