I’m not sure when it happened — it wasn’t true, at least in Baltimore, back in the Dark Ages when I was in grade school — but at some point schoolteachers started assigning homework projects — frequently mindless ones, such as making a map of California out of modeling clay — well beyond the skills of the kids themselves, and parents began “helping with” (i.e. doing) the projects. As a result, any kid who tries to do his or her own work can’t compete with the adults, and gets a bad grade.
This practice has many bad results: for example, it wastes parental time that could otherwise be usefully devoted to the child’s upbringing or to other tasks, and it deprives the children of whatever they might learn from doing, or trying and failing to do, the projects on their own, or from doing real, cognitively-demanding homework instead.
But one especially obvious and disastrous consequence hadn’t occurred to me until a friend (fresh from doing an art project for a nine-year-old niece) pointed it out: it teaches kids that passing off the work of others as your own is normal and appropriate. And then we wonder why it’s hard to convince college students that plagiarism is a no-no.