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Last week on Wicked Local, School Committee Chairman Matt Hills suggested that the School Committee was ready to move on from the David Fleishman plagiarism incident and return its focus to other issues facing our schools.

MattHills-pictureThis is “a very serious issue,” Hills said. “But we’ve acted appropriately. The decision is done. It’s behind us now, and everyone – including the superintendent – is moving forward.

Hills clarified his comment to me in an email this weekend, saying he meant the committee is moving on but that it was up to the community to determine how, when or if it wants to move on.

I think that’s a reasonable position, although I know some will disagree.

(However, I do think there’s some issues related to how the SC deliberated this; why Fleishman’s remarks weren’t made public sooner;  and whether the SC followed proper procedures that I hope the TAB, The Globe and perhaps the Secretary of State, will thoroughly investigate. But that’s a topic for a different thread.)

But the topic I’d like to discuss here is: Where do we as a community go from here? While some may clamor for Fleishman to be fired, it’s unlikely that this School Committee is going to do that.

Meanwhile, we’re about six weeks away from the start of a new school year. And as many have discussed here, and as a story in the Globe today pondered, there really should be a plan for how our schools address this incident and teach the value of attribution.

The rash of adults getting caught is all the more embarrassing since schools preach the importance of giving proper academic credit, and spell out the consequences in student handbooks.

Newton South High School says that cheating and plagiarism are “serious violations of the personal and academic standards of the school and are destructive to the learning process,” and warns that plagiarized assignments will receive a zero.

Here’s Terry Malloy’s suggestion:

Rather than a monetary punishment, how about a personal letter of apology to the graduates that were addressed and, when school is in session this fall, a discussion at each High School(and Middle Schools?), led by the Superintendent, of all the issues involved.
It could be an interesting learning opportunity for all.

What’s your suggestion?

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