Why We Should Stop Teaching Novels To High School Students (Natasha Vargas-Cooper for Bookforum)
Remember how you wrote when you were in high school? Would you have been secure enough to post one of your essays online? [.doc files] Essay.org has compiled a collection of essays (in various languages), in order to "provide free essays for entertainment, education, and publishing." (My favorites are definitely the persuasive essays.)
Write about zombies, go to jail. I'd be really pissed at the grandparents, if I were this kid.
"Ironic Detachment as an Escape from Routine" by Christopher Lasch ; Compared to What by Eugene McDaniels as performed by Les McCann ; What Is Cynical Reason? Peter Sloterdijk Explains ; Rainer Maria Rilke on Being and the Transitory ; Albert Einstein on Intellectuals and the Masses, Specialization and the Division of Labor, and the Quality of Life ; T.W. Adorno on Zen Buddhism ; Temporarily Humboldt County and Pondering the Spirit World with Seinfeld--just a taste of The Autodidact Project by Ralph Dumain (Librarian-Archivist-Information Specialist Researcher-Scholar) Can you dig it?
All sorts of delicious ethical issues here: Slate's guide to buying a term paper online. One of Slate's recommendations: "a smart but horribly lazy student could choose to put his effort into editing instead of researching and writing: Buy a mediocre paper that's done the legwork, then whip it into shape by improving the writing and adding some carefully chosen details." (Perhaps most revealing and disturbing aspect of the article is how the judges explain how they grade horrible papers -- an "utterly meaningless" essay earns a C- and another paper which deserves an F would earn the phrase "please come see me" because they don't dispense Fs at Columbia.)
The World According to Student Bloopers is an extremely hilarious 'essay' which was created by Richard Lederer, who compiled embarassingly silly quotes from students' essays. This was brought to my attention by my Modern-Western History teacher, and I believe everyone should read this. While humorous, it is also indescribably frightening that there are people out there who actually wrote this stuff.