I have been following the SAT Cheating Scandal pretty closely since the beginning. I don’t check in on it every day or anything, but I have a Google Alert set up, so when news breaks, I peek in. Apparently Sam Eshaghoff, the kid who took the test for all those other people, is getting his 15 minutes of fame now, and recently taped an interview with 60 Minutes. He’s just as charming as you’d expect a morally bankrupt person to be. Money quote:

I mean, a kid who has a horrible grade-point average, who no matter how much he studies is going to totally bomb this test, by giving him an amazing score, I totally give him this… new lease on life. He’s going to go to a totally new college. He’s going to be bound for a totally new career and a totally new path on life.

Assignment: Are achievements diminished when they are accomplished dishonestly? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Yep, that’s right. It’s an essay contest. But I don’t want pages and pages here. I want an SAT-length composition. Ideally, I’d like you to complete it in 25 minutes, but I don’t have any way to check you on that, so I guess we’re on the honor system. Think for a minute about how appropriate that is, given the prompt. I just got chills.

Post your essays right in the comments; I’ll accept entries until Monday. I’ll score them all, and I’ll send a free copy of the Math Guide to my favorite one. Obviously, to win, you can’t be anonymous.

UPDATE: You’re all winners. I won’t make a habit of this because I can’t afford it, but all three of you who took the time to write essays this time will get a copy of the book. See my specific comments below.