As an introduction, I'll tell you that you can expect my posts to be kinda geeky, without the overhead; what that means I'm not totally sure. You can expect more semicolons than you will normally encounter: I seem to like these little critters. You can expect long titles with Capitalised Words, or very short ones all in lowercase. You can expect better spelling than the previous posts... no, that's not a criticism (Is it a criticism?)... OK, yeah... it's a criticism. You can expect very obscure puns and very silly neologisms. You can expect a distinct preference for British spellings with a dash of American contractions. You can expect bold and italic instead of (or in conjunction with) ALL CAPS; also, Small Caps when I can. You can expect rhythm (a bit). You can expect programming (a lot). You can expect Frenchisms (sometimes). Happy reading!
To start us with, and by default of better material, here's my cheating rant:
I was thinking... (uh oh) about why cheating is such a problem in high school, where it really doesn't matter at all. High school is easy. I'm not saying that because I'm a nerd and I passed it with easy As (or Es, depending on which system you're in) -- I didn't. I'm a nerd and a computer geek and I got super crappy marks (by nerd standards) at my finals which barely got me enough points to get into Uni.
But that's the point. High school is easy because all you need to do to pass is listen in class and put a little effort in. Actually, you might be able to do less than that, because the teachers are paid better if more students pass their class, so some of the worst (or best) ones will actually give you full marks for very bad work.
In comparison, Uni is hard. Uni is incredibly harder than school because you actually have to learn stuff. You can't just passively sit in class, you've got to go out and read, practice, and do whatever it is you're studying. You've got to have self-discipline to get your assignments in at the correct time, and get to your tests early. There's no one behind you pushing you, and lecturers get paid the same whether or not you pass the course.
Cheating in high school is hard. For one, you have small classes and a teacher who knows you. That means that to cheat (successfully), you need to have someone who can imitate your style while consistently give you better marks than you ever could. It's a hard job. Because it's a hard job, you need to pay for it, or terrorise your local genius into doing it for you. There's also a very large amount of safeguards put into effect by schools and the ministry to avoid cheating in high school. You spend more time learning anti-cheat NCEA protocols than writing the papers. It's incredible.
Cheating in Uni is easy. You're just a number, and as a number, all you really need is a fake student ID to get into any class or test room you want. If you have the knowledge, you can make very easy money by getting paid to take papers for others. There's no safeguards, there's no millions invested in there. And I'm talking about cheating, not copying your essays off the Internet -- that's just plain stupid.
Cheating in high school will get you a qualification that more than 60% of the population get. That qualification might help you get into Uni or get a small job, but that's all it's ever gonna do. You won't put your NCEA pass certificate in a frame up on your office wall. And nobody cares if you cheated in high school, because it's not that important, really.
Cheating in Uni will get you a degree that more than 60% of the original first year entrants fail to get. Having this fake degree will enable you to take on jobs that you cannot do properly because you do not have the actual knowledge. Having this degree might get you paid ten grands a week that you do not deserve. Having this degree might put other people's lives in danger (think surgeon).
Cheating in Uni is easier than cheating in high school yet the stakes are incredibly higher. In my opinion, the first education funding cut we need to make is in the whole high school cheat prevention thing. Cheats in high school will do well at small jobs and fail in the first semester of University. There's no need for anything else.