The Day I Was Asked to Cheat on Homework

A few weeks ago, an advertisement for a content writing firm popped up on my screen. The identity of this firm shall remain nameless…at least for the time being. I’ve thought about writing blogs and other online content for other people, so I decided to check them out as a little side gig for extra cash. I mean, why not? Right?

At first, everything seemed on the up and up. I had to submit an application, a resume, and then I was scheduled for a phone interview. Every bit of the process seemed professional and straight-forward. And then — they activated my dashboard to accept assignments for writing jobs. At that point, I lost it.

No, this was not a site for writing blogs for companies. No, this was not a site for creating web content for businesses and organizations. No, this was not an opportunity to write marketing content. The jobs listed included writing a Master’s thesis, writing a high school term paper, creating the dissertation for someone’s PhD… 109 jobs ready for the taking to help someone cheat on their school work. And, the scope of the cheating ranged from high school to the top of higher education.

Not for me.

Aside from the fact that it’s completely wrong, it flies in the face of my ethics. I don’t even do my children’s homework for them; I’m not about to take cash for doing some stranger’s writing for them.

Once my angered subsided, I took a deep breath and thought about why? Why are these students hiring someone else to write everything from essays to major milestones in their academic careers? Why are they taking the chance of getting caught?

It would be easy to dismiss them all into one pool of laziness, but I don’t think that’s it. The fact of the matter is — it’s obvious they don’t know how to write. Their fear of writing failure has led them to pay someone else to do it and gamble their academic careers.

Writing is a life skill. Each and every human being needs a strong foundation in the literacy elements of writing and reading comprehension. Writing instruction must begin in early childhood and build on these foundations through elementary, junior high, and high school. Every high school senior should graduate with writing skills suitable for college and career readiness. Unfortunately, writing has become the back-burner subject in schools across the country and remains one of the weakest links. A literate nation is a strong nation. It is time for each of us to reach out to decision makers and lawmakers. Literacy must be at the top of everyone’s agenda.

Darren Butler

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