In the fall of 1994, a teacher at Chicago's run-down Steinmetz High recruits seven students for an academic decathlon team. They work long hours, preparing for the February regional event, won for ten straight years by a privileged, preppy school. Steinmetz finishes just well enough to be invited to the state meet. When a team member steals a copy of the state test, the teacher and kids face a dilemma: to remain honest, or to cheat and score a victory for kids in underfunded schools. When they do well, they must face a withering barrage of investigations, accusations, lawyers' lies, and reporters' intrusions. Is it all worth it? What lessons does cheating teach?