The Culture of Perfection


Avi Sholkoff

Staff Writer 

2400. 36. 4.0. Most Milken students believe that without high scores and grades they will not be accepted to a selective college.  Anything less will not be good enough.

Similarly, the Air Force base cheating scandal that occurred a couple of months ago demonstrates this “culture of perfection,” a term coined by Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the Air Force. These men and women decided to cheat because they felt the only way that they could progress their careers is if they achieved a perfect score on the monthly test.

Milken speaks about the value of Lishma, learning for the sake of learning. Many Milken students only care about getting an A. No matter what most students do to attain it , as long as there is an A on the final report card, they will be happy. Recently, there has been conversation about the new Milken Honor Code. This Honor Code seeks to promote honesty among students. It is the teachers‘ hope that this code will prevent cheating and dishonesty.

Milken students are driven, hard working, and motivated. However, if you get an A- on an assignment, your and drive motivation is not lowered.  If you worked as hard as you could and took pride in what you accomplished, that is all the teacher (and you) are looking for. The Air Force men and women who cheated believed that getting a 90% or a 95% on one of these tests was considered unsatisfactory. Milken Students, straight A’s are the dream, but they are extremely difficult to attain. Milken is a college-preparatory school. The classes are designed to be challenging. They are designed to be thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating. It is perfectly normal to feel exhausted and unmotivated. It is forbidden to cheat or take the easy way out. It is not permitted to plagiarize information from the Internet.

These Air Force students are men and women who are in charge of firing nuclear missiles. If in the event of a national crisis, and the President ordered missiles to be shot across the world, these men and women would need to be prepared to act upon such a command. The students must be perfect. A missile crew member said that, “cheating has been going on for years; however, leadership pretends that cheating is not happening.” The officials only cared about creating more Air Force missileers.

After the Air-Force officials realized the problem with the monthly tests, they created a new, pass/fail exam. Milken, I have a proposal. Let’s change our Culture of Perfection at all costs. Let us create a Culture of Diligence.