Today's article in the N.Y. Times on college plagiarism is an extremely important and timely one.  It echoes many of the ideas I have been emphasizing for the last ten years.  The article focused on several points of view about the problem, including an anthropological view that the culture of file sharing has defeated the Enlightenment view of intellectual property, individual identity and personal voice.  A senior in college, Sarah Wilensky, has an additional view, which I share:

"In the view of Ms. Wilensky, whose writing skills earned her the role of informal editor of other students' papers in her freshman dorm, plagiarism has nothing to do with trendy academic theories.  

"'The main reason it occurs,' she said, 'is because students leave high school unprepared for the intellectual rigors of college writing.'

"'If you're taught how to closely read sources and synthesize them into your own original argument in middle and high school, you're not going to be tempted to plagiarize in college, and you certainly won't do so unknowingly,' she said."

Ms. Wilensky lays the blame at the feet of secondary pedagogical practice, where I place it as well.  The Common Core Standards, based on the College and Career Readiness Standards, reminds us of the importance of independent reading of grade-level calibrated text.

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