Apparently, some school superintendents don’t have an original thought in their heads. Recent plagiarism accusations against two Massachusetts superintendents resulted in a resignation and a fine of a week’s pay. And this week, the incoming superintendent of New London, Connecticut public schools was caught after plagiarizing part of his job application.
The Day reported yesterday that “at least 10 paragraphs’’ of Terrence P. Carter’s application for the position of school superintendent had been taken from other sources without attribution. In some cases, the passages were word-for-word copies.
This wasn’t Carter’s first brush with controversy since he was appointed superintendent on June 12. He’s also been accused of falsifying his credentials, claiming to have a Ph.D. from Stanford when in fact he is due to earn his Ph.D. from Boston’s Lesley University in August. And it doesn’t stop there. The Hartford Courant discovered that Carter has claimed to have a Ph.D. from what appears to be an unaccredited ‘degree mill.’
(If this all sounds a bit familiar, back in 2007 then-MIT dean of admissions Marilee Jones resigned after being caught falsifying her resume. Jones had claimed to have degrees from Albany Medical College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Union College. She didn’t.)
New London’s Board of Education, which approved Carter’s appointment unanimously, has launched an investigation, though its vice president told The Day that she thought it was time to “seek another candidate.’’ The state’s Department of Education has asked Carter to withdraw his application twice. So far, he has refused.
Last month, when the Board announced Carter’s appointment, chairwoman Margaret Curtin praised his “collaborative work ethic.’’
Carter was due to begin work on August 1, but that is currently on hold while the board’s investigation continues. An interim superintendent should be named on Friday, spokeswoman Julianne Hanckel told Boston.com.
This comes after two Massachusetts superintendents were accused of plagiarizing graduation speeches. Both Brenda Hodges, superintendent of Mansfield public schools, and David Fleishman, superintendent of Newton public schools, acknowledged that they failed to attribute parts of their speeches to the original sources. Hodges then announced her resignation, effective next year, while Fleishman was fined a week’s pay — about $5,000.
Child and family psychologist Richard Weissbourd told The Boston Globe that plagiarism incidents such as these may be sending the message to students that it’s okay to cheat. After all, if their teacher’s boss does it, why shouldn’t they?