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As I noted in a comment earlier, this week’s revelations surrounding Newton Superintendent of Shools David Fleishman’s plagiarism is a conundrum for our community.

On the one hand, I think Fleishman is a terrific superintendent and I want him to continue leading our school department.

On the other hand, he’s a role model and the unattributed use of someone’s work is an offense our schools rightly take seriously.

More troubling to me is the near-month gap between when it became clear that this took place and when it became public.  Fleishman’s disappointing non-apology acknowledgment doesn’t help.

I realize it’s very easy to suggest what someone should have done after the fact but (after biting my lip for past 24 hours) I’m going to do so anyway.

Imagine if on June 27 or a day or two after it became apparent what happened, David Fleishman sent to the following email to students or published this as a letter in the TAB..

Dear Class of 2014:

Once again I want to congratulate you on your high school graduation. etc, etc, etc.

It was my privilege to be your superintendent and an honor to speak to you on graduation night.  However, I wanted to mention that there were several points in my speech to you where I neglected to credit a few of my comments. As you know, our schools value giving credit where credit is due and I wanted to make sure you knew that a recent speech by Gov. Deval Patrick directly inspired some of my comments.

I hope you have a chance to enjoy your summer and your achievement before your move onto the next phase of your life, etc. etc. etc.

All the best,

David Fleishman

Like I said, it’s easy to suggest this in hindsight.  I hope I’m smart enough to remember my own advice the next time I mess something up.

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