To Catch a Plagiarizer

A fascinating dialogue between a professor who’s caught students plagiarizing and a person who gets paid to write papers for students (via Maud):

[In the case of grammatical errors,] I was alerted to plagiarism by the sudden appearance, in a paper that is otherwise a morass of grammatical errors, of a series of flawless sentences with complicated structures. The correct use of a semicolon is a big red flag for me. As is the use—and often misuse—of specialized jargon or technical language that I’ve not discussed with them in class. Then I type those sentences into Google, and they all wind up being smoking-gun cases of plagiarism. My favorite case this semester was plagiarism within plagiarism. When I informed this student that I suspected her paper was plagiarized, she said to me, “I got my paper from one of the students who was in your class last semester. How was I to know that she had plagiarized?” Which indicated to me, along with a number of the other email responses I got from students, that many of them don’t even know what plagiarism is.

Teen Student Fakes Pregnancy As Part of School Project

From AP:

A high school student who faked her pregnancy for six months as a social experiment stunned a student assembly this week by taking off the belly bundle. Only a handful of people knew that 17-year-old Gaby Rodriguez wasn’t really pregnant, including her mother, boyfriend and the principal, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic. They helped keep the secret from some of her siblings and her boyfriend’s family and students and teachers, all as part of a senior project on stereotyping.

No Immediate Benefit

Ross Perlin discusses how colleges are complicit in providing companies and organizations with free student labor(via Rachel) :

Colleges and universities have become cheerleaders and enablers of the unpaid internship boom, failing to inform young people of their rights or protect them from the miserly calculus of employers. In hundreds of interviews with interns over the past three years, I found dejected students resigned to working unpaid for summers, semesters and even entire academic years — and, increasingly, to paying for the privilege.

As someone who attends a university that facilitates these sorts of internships, I’m also wary of paying for the privilege of working for someone. Sadly, there are few incentives for universities to change these practices, even as better alternatives exist.

The Villifcation of Teachers

You can say what you want about teacher’s unions. We can probably have totally civil disagreements as to their efficacy and to their place in the U.S. education system. But can we all agree that villifying teachers, as the GOP have been relentlessly doing, is deplorable? Teachers are among the hardest working people in the world. There are a crapton of bad apples, but for every lazy teacher who coasts, there are a dozen that bust their ass to try and give some time and attention to students who the system has often forgotten.

Sarah Averill explains:

The real sting, though, is that suddenly, teachers are characterized by politicians and pundits alike as greedy money-grubbers with powerful unions and bloated benefits, who work a few hours a day with summers off, and can’t even get a kid to pass an exam. There have always been people who say this, and normally we can laugh it off — you need to have a good sense of humor, after all, to be a teacher. But now, it’s not just anyone saying these things — it’s our leaders, the ones we voted for and listen to. And people, from school boards to parents, are listening to them as well.

Pornography Will Ruin Your Teaching Career

The sad story of Tera Myers, who was unable to escape her past involvement in pornography:

A Parkway North High School science teacher has been placed on administrative leave and will not return to her job after disclosing she had worked in pornographic films before becoming a teacher, according to school district officials. The teacher, Tera Myers, requested the leave Friday after a student approached her about her past, according to the district. Previously, Myers had been suspended from a Kentucky school district for similar reasons.