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Back to Feb. Ed Reporter

Students See Decline of Social and Moral
Values As Greatest Crisis

LAKE FOREST, IL -- The "decline of social and moral values" is today's greatest national crisis according to the Who's Who Among American High School Students 26th Annual Survey of High Achievers. The Who's Who survey reveals what our country's best high school students think about education, drugs, social and sexual issues. It is the largest independent sample of outstanding high school students.

When it comes to academics, an overwhelming majority of the Who's Who students (70%) find their school to be only somewhat or not very challenging. Roughly nine out of ten (89%) go to a school where cheating is common, and three quarters of high achievers (76%) themselves admit they have cheated on their schoolwork.

Eighty percent (80%) of students say there is a lot of alcohol use among students from their school. Drugs (47%), alcohol (53%), and weapons (19%) are all deemed "very easy or not very difficult" to obtain at school.

In regard to sexual behavior, 45% of the students gave "want to wait for marriage" as the major reason to abstain from sexual intercourse. Of the sexually active students, almost half (44%) regret their decision to have sex and wish they had remained a virgin.

Despite all the sex education in schools, 44% of sexually active students do not use a contraceptive regularly. Eighty-five percent (85%) of students who are having sex refuse to believe they have even a moderate risk of contracting AIDS, and 61% are convinced that their risk of pregnancy is low or nonexistent.

In regard to political views, 49% of the students consider themselves to be moderate, 29% conservative, and 17% liberal. Close to half (41%) think unwed teenage mothers should not receive welfare at all.

Bill and Hillary Clinton top the list when it comes to what is "out" among students, followed by "using cocaine," "O.J. Simpson," "Newt Gingrich," and "The Simpsons."

Roughly two-thirds (69%) of the respondents say they come from homes that are "happy and close most of the time." When asked who is the person with the greatest influence in their life, 44% say their mother. A large number (83%) of students have a great deal of confidence in their parents, a level that far exceeds their confidence in other institutions such as the media (4%) and their school (35%). Fifty-eight percent (58%) of the students think they will have a more difficult time than their parents in buying a house, 53% in affording an education, and 50% in getting a good job.

When asked what they want most in life, family ranked first with 32%, and career success followed second with 18%.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of the Who's Who students believe there is too much violence on TV and that there should be censorship of certain motion pictures, TV programs, books, and magazines.

The Who's Who annual survey is conducted among 3,351 high-achieving 16- to 18-year-old students, all of whom have an "A" or "B" average, and 98% of whom plan to attend college after high school graduation. Seventy-four percent (74%) of the survey respondents attend public school, 16% private school, and 10% parochial.


 
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