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In Defense of “Shadow Scholars”

Ed Dante has written nursing papers, military strategy papers, even reports on academic integrity. He’s the shadow scholar, employed by a term paper mill. He made $66,000 in 2010.

He’s my idol.

I got into paper writing to help a friend. I was bored, I missed reading and learning. I find that writing papers helps me learn more than taking online classes. The format of those classes tends to encourage “in one ear and out the other” thinking, digesting knowledge by rote and spitting it out. It’s frustrating, and I see why people don’t like doing it.

I’ve written for a preschool teacher, a sociologist, and someone studying to be a midwife.¬†They’re parents with kids who need repeated trips to a medical specialist. They’re entrepreneurs who couldn’t miss out on an expansion opportunity. They’re overscheduled students who forgot to take a freshman year science class which is currently biting them in the ass.

This comment in the Chronicle article aggravated me (italics mine).

I think that schools and even paper-writers like the author have very little blame here. If students cheat, they are left with a diploma with little practical knowledge behind it. At which point three things will happen: they will do nothing with their degree and just continue to be a useless rich person, they will get hired and fail to get promoted because they cannot do their job competently in spite of their degree, or they will get promoted based on their degree not their performance – which is the fault of the employer.

I propose a fourth option for my clients: they will graduate and do their jobs well, because ‘lesbian healthcare’ and the ‘American economy under Bush’ had nothing to do with their jobs. I’d trust my clients to watch my children, deliver my children, or do whatever a sociologist could do for me. I know the classes I’m taking and papers I’m writing for them are peripheral to their education. My clients don’t want me to take their important classes. They’d rather be there. My work allows them to be there.

Viva la Shadow Scholar!



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