The Best and the Brightest

December 11, 1998

What has happened to our best and brightest? No matter how bad the moral values of this nation became, we could always gain some solace in the fact that the best and brightest students were still worthy of admiration. They were honest, got good grades, were involved in community service, and avoided sex and drugs. Unfortunately, some things have changed.

Recent surveys of the nation's brightest kids provides another sobering look at the decline in society. For example, a poll of students honored in Who's Who Among American High School Students found that 80 percent admitted to having cheated during their impressive academic careers. "The 29th Annual Survey of High Achievers" found that 83 percent said cheating is common at their school, and 57 percent said it's easy or not very difficult to get test questions and answers.

Most shrugged off their copying and plagiarizing with 53 percent saying that it was "no big deal" and 95 percent responding that they got away with it. By the way, 11 percent said their parents know they cheat.

The survey also asked about their reaction to President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. A little more than a third said they would be more cautious with their co-workers, 20 percent said they would be more wary of their employers, and 16 percent said they would not accept an internship at the White House.

There was some good news. More than half of the students say they never drink alcohol. And of those who drink, only 4 percent said they have driven afterward. They also exercise self-restraint where sex is involved, with 82 percent reporting they remain chaste.

But that's about the only good news. Overall the latest surveys show very disappointing attitudes among America's best and brightest.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International