"Personally, I don't feel like the competition at AHS is as extreme as the cases described in the book. But, after reading this, I'm starting to wonder if I just need to wake up and see the real world. I think academic competition is healthy as a means of inspiration or to encourage students to do their best, but when competition begins to encourage immorality I think it's time for a change. In my opinion, the problem is that students' values have changed, not their morals. Most students know that things like cheating and lying are wrong; that's a moral almost any student will agree with. The problem, however, is that many people, not just high schoolers, value success above morality. So although it goes against their morals to do these things, what's more important to them are grades, college, and eventually a good job. Deeper than that, though, I think what feeds the growing desires of students for good grades is materialism as a means of satisfaction. Because we now live in a world where, from a young age, children are fed the idea that money and happiness go hand in hand, students feel as though they need good grades to go to a good college to get a good job that makes a lot of money. They do these things because they believe it will ultimately lead to happiness. Morality's value is lowered, making cheating a logical step in the path towards satisfaction.
The idea behind academic competition isn't the problem, nor is it unhealthy. Competition can encourage diligence and self-motivation. The problem is that increased materialism is causing students to justify immoral behaviors by saying that such actions are necessary components in one's journey to success. Success meaning lots of money, not a clean conscience, honest heart, and true joy, that is."