Article excerpt

Affirming honesty as best policy

Honesty cannot be forced. There are rules, regulations and laws in society that aim to encourage integrity and deter dishonesty. But these can be bent, ignored or disobeyed. There are value systems rich in goodness. But they can be corrupted.

Indeed, it seems that honesty is the best policy - to ignore, at least of late.

Famous authors are found to be plagiarists.

Teachers who uncover and penalize plagiarists in their classrooms, such as the one in a Kansas high school, are told they have gone too far with discipline.

But such discipline should not be discouraged. A report by the Associated Press this week reveals that cheating is one of the major concerns of educators. It cites a Princeton University study last year that found that 74 percent of high school students had either cheated on a test or plagiarized their work.

Why? Well, adults provide poor models, when public officials accept bribes for driver's licenses, the biggest scandal in Illinois government in some time. Then there is the Enron/Arthur Andersen debacle. And now, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sued some executives of one-time Oak Brook-based Waste Management, accusing them of inflating the company's earnings and taking big cash pay-outs from the alleged accounting scheme while cheating unsuspecting shareholders. …