Welcome to the Plagiarism Police State?

Don't worry, education will break you, Joe Parent. But it'll feel so good after it stops hurting.

While Da-da's boys are years away from this, it's inevitable that one of them will be forced to use one of the increasingly rampant, "plagiarism prevention" tools being used by so many schools today (with a 100% penetration into the Singaporean edu market, if this tells you anything). Having worked in K-12 and post-secondary education markets, Da-da has conflicted opinions about this "tool." An educator once told Da-da, "A good teacher knows when kids are plagiarizing; they don't need a computer program's word for it -- or the hefty bills associated with it." However, given how easily kids can now just cut-n-paste wikipedia articles and other content from the 'net into their papers and call it their own, there might be a need for some type of safeguard.

Meanwhile, the point appears to be moot: the Plagiarism Police are making sizeable fortunes playing on the fears (and laziness) of some academics -- and kids now, too, with moneygrubbing "lite" versions marketed directly at kids, so the already academically paranoid can "vet" their paper to get their, "originality score." Sure, it makes sense to be original and keep your money, but even original kids who do their own work are being made to feel paranoid about their papers, just so some company can make a profit. What kind of lesson is this teaching? 

Like other Orwellian Borg-o-types, the Plagiarism Police State pretends to care, telling you it's a teaching tool... but is this what it's really being used for? The fact that prices for these services (which are just web-based computer algorithms) go up in price 8% every year, even when things are bad-going-to-worse in education, worldwide, should tell you something about the mindsets of those running the companies. Perhaps if a not-for-profit arose to do the same thing, partnering with the schools instead of preying on them?

Plagiaristically speaking, it should be noted that the best schools don't hype or subscribe to the plagiarism police state (Da-a won't list them, you can uncover them for yourself). These last bastions of academic trust rely on their educators, where the onus should be in the first place. So, if you're the head of an academic department or a dean or provost, you need to ask yourself a question: Is this plagiarism prevention service really worth the money? Or should you use that moolah to pay for more teachers?

The biggest academic ship taking on water is TRUST. Da-da has worked with kids for years, and there's a special magic to giving a group of kids your trust and having them work to keep it. Sure, there are setbacks; people are inherently imperfect (no, really), but if you give them your trust first and foremost, they often far exceed expectations. YES, there will be a few who abuse said trust, but they're just hurting themselves and will feel their self-inflicted pain later on in some other way. Bottom line: children need to be NURTURED, not policed.

But don't take the word of a parent who is the future gateway to countless hundreds of thousands of dollars of future education-buying potential. Nooo, don't do that. Like governments and the Federal Reserve, corporations really do have your kid's best interest in mind. No, really. Jeez, how could they not?

Timmy meets his new first grade teacher.
"Do your work, citizen, or there will be... trouble."

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