Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pittsburgh Public Schools "lifted" its educational philosophy (or, if Dr. Hamlet plagiarized then so did PPS)

Annette Werner wrote,

"Here is an updated version of my testimony from yesterday's Public Hearing.

Good evening. I support Dr. Hamlet, and in support of him I would like to share some materials I found online.  I will send each of you a copy by email.

First, you will find some Pittsburgh Public Schools documents, including District Beliefs, PPS Shared Goals, and something called the Pittsburgh Pledge.  The content will be very familiar, including statements such as “All children can learn at high levels” and “Teachers have a profound impact on student development.”  They note the need for a “safe and orderly work environment,” a goal of “efficient and equitable distribution of resources,” and a pledge to be accountable for achieving “Excellence for All.”

Next are pages from the handbook of a charter school in Rhode Island, the “RINI Middle College”
http://www.rinimc.org/uploads/3/9/6/4/39648435/parent_and_family_engagement.pdf .  It declares that “All children can learn at high levels,” and that “Teachers have a profound impact on student development” and notes the goals of a “safe and orderly work environment” and “efficient and equitable distribution of resources.”

A little closer to home, the website of the Grove City Area School district states that “All children can learn at high levels,” observes that “Teachers have a profound impact on student development,” and pledges to be accountable for achieving “Excellence for All.”  http://www.grovecity.k12.pa.us/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=511&ViewID=7b97f7ed-8e5e-4120-848f-a8b4987d588f&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=102&PageID=334

And, even across the country in Compton, a page from the website of their Unified School District states that their Board wants “a safe and orderly environment” and “efficient and equitable distribution of resources.”   http://web.compton.k12.ca.us/Components/UserControls/ResourceMgr/rsrcView.aspx?rsrc=mN8i8qKPd%2FYwxXlQigjFhA%3D%3D As these examples show,  the websites of various other schools and school districts echo verbatim much of the language found on our PPS website.

Based on the dates of the documents I would guess that these districts copied from PPS rather than vice versa.  But we aren’t home free- investigate the components of the PPS materials and you will find relevant sources published prior to our website but not cited by PPS, such as a book written in 2005 (excerpt attached), which asserts that “all students can learn at high levels” and explains the reasoning that led to this conclusion. https://books.google.com/books?id=Z1rN1Ivlmn4C&pg=PT292&lpg=PT292&dq=%22all+children+can+learn+at+high+levels%22&source=bl&ots=IMEJyAem7Y&sig=C4MpM-fy86gG84BXxeU4_cNNius&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirzor1ornNAhUKaD4KHdUbDcIQ6AEIXDAN#v=onepage&q=%22all%20children%20can%20learn%20at%20high%20levels%22&f=false

So what to make of all this borrowing- is it plagiarism?  My sense is that it is not.  Statements of philosophy, values, mission, goals and belief are simply not treated the same as articles in newspapers or scholarly journals.  What is the sense of making 20 different districts come up with 20 different ways to say “Excellence for All,” or clutter their posters, handbooks and other communications with academic citations? 

I would like to see observers step away from misguided charges of plagiarism, offer Dr. Hamlet a warm welcome, and allow him to do the job he was hired to do."


Questioner said...

So why in almost 10 years has no one discovered the "plagiarism" on the part of Pittsburgh Public Schools and Mark Roosevelt specifically?

Probably because they never looked for it! It is surprising how many people have taken it upon themselves to delve into the educational statistics of the state of Florida and google statements from the resume of Dr. Hamlet, but apparently never thought to check the words of prior superintendents for proper attribution.

Also habitually unchecked are the claims of foundation members. The Heinz Foundation asserts on its blog that Dr. Lane created Summer Dreamers, but that is something Mark Roosevelt already received extensive credit for, with little mention of Dr. Lane made at the time the program began. Did she also have something to do with creation of the Internet?

Questioner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Questioner said...

So in other words, the educational philosophy of PPS ("all children can learn at high levels") includes a sentence lifted from another source with one word changed ("students" to "children").

Anonymous said...

This is minor compared to the PPS police officers who cheated through the iup police academy and then never passed the certification test to be a certified police officer and are working as police officers for the PPS. They are actually impersonating a police officer. That is a crime.After. the police academy they must get certified to work as a police officer in Pennsylvania and some never went and others cant pass the test.