KDCP is Karen Dillard’s company specialized in preparing students to ace the Scholastic Aptitude Test. At least some of the paying students received a solid testing-day advantage: besides teaching the typical tips and pointers, KDCP acquired stolen SAT tests and used them in their training sessions. It’s unclear how many of the questions that students practiced on subsequently turned up on the SATs they took, but some certainly did. The company that produces the SAT, the College Board, cried foul and took KDCP to court. The lawsuit fell into the category of copyright infringement, but the real meat of the claim was that KDCP helped kids cheat, they got caught, and now they should pay.
The College Board’s case was very strong. After KDCP accepted the cold reality that they were going to get hammered, they agreed to a settlement offer from the College Board that included this provision: KDCP would provide $400,000 worth of free SAT prep classes to high schoolers who couldn’t afford to pay the bill them- selves…….
1 .Can you form a quick list of people who’d benefit because of this decision and others who’d end up on the losing side? Then, considering the situation globally and from a utilitarian perspective, what would need to be true for the settlement offer to be ethically recommendable?
2. As for those receiving the course for free—it’s probably safe to assume that their happiness increases. Something for nothing is good. But what about the students who still have to pay for the course? Some may be gladdened to hear that more students get the opportunity, but others will see things differently; they’ll focus on the fact that their parents are working and saving money to pay for the course, while others get it for nothing. Some of those who paid probably actually earned the money themselvesat some disagreeable, minimum wage McJob. Maybe they served popcorn in the movie theater to one of those others who later on applied and got a hardship exemption.
< Starting from this frustration and unhappiness on the part of those who pay full price, can you form a utilitarian case against the settlement’s free classes?
< From a utilitarian perspective, could the College Board have improved the settlement by adding the stipulation that the settlement’s terms (and therefore the free classes) not be publicly disclosed?
< Once word got out, could a utilitarian recommend that the College Board lie or that it release a statement saying, “No free classes were part of the settlement”?
3. There was talk about canceling the scores of those students who took the SAT after benefitting from the KDCP classes that offered access to the stolen exam booklets. The students and their parents protested vigorously, pointing out that they’d simply signed up for test prep, just like students all across the nation. They knew nothing about the theft and they presumably didn’t know they were practicing on questions that might actually appear on their exam day. From the perspective of rule utilitarianism, what’s the case for canceling their scores? From the perspective of act utilitarianism, what’s the case for reinstating the scores?
4. The College Board CEO makes around $830,000 a year. < What is a utilitarian case for radically lowering his salary?
< If you were a utilitarian and you had the chance—and you were sure you wouldn’t get caught—would you steal the money from the guy’s bank account? Why or why not?
5. It could be that part of what the College Board hoped to gain through this settlement requiring free classes for the underprivileged was some positive publicity, some burnishing of their image as the good guys, the socially responsible company, the ones who do the right thing.
< Outline the case for this being an act of an altruistic company. < Outline the case for this being an act of an egoistic company.