Did PBC educator tapped to lead Pittsburgh schools plagiarize part of resume?

Anthony Hamlet
Anthony Hamlet

Veteran Palm Beach County educator Anthony Hamlet, who admitted this week to misrepresenting his track record in being selected to lead Pittsburgh’s public schools, also may have plagiarized a key portion of his job application, a Pittsburgh newspaper reports.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported this morning that a prominent part of Hamlet’s stated “educational philosophy” appears to have been lifted word for word without attribution from a Washington Post editorial published last year.

In applying to be Pittsburgh’s next superintendent, Hamlet submitted a resume that included a passage describing his education philosophy.

In it, he wrote:

“A successful superintendent has to satisfy many constituencies, keeping high achievers in the system while devoting resources to those who need them most.”

That sentence appeared nearly verbatim – with one additional word, “even” –  in a Washington Post editorial published in February 2015 about the search for a superintendent in Montgomery County, Md.:

“A successful superintendent has to satisfy many constituencies, keeping high achievers in the system even while devoting resources to those who need them most.”

What constitutes plagiarism is a fluid concept, but the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as using “the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas.”

A Harvard University writing guide advises students that copying another’s writing word for word without attribution constitutes “verbatim plagiarism.”

“If you copy language word for word from another source and use that language in your paper, you are plagiarizing verbatim,” it states.

That wasn’t the only part of Hamlet’s application that appears to have been lifted without attribution from other sources, the Post-Gazette reported.

According to the newspaper, his resume “also borrowed descriptive language from programs Mr. Hamlet attended.”

Asked Tuesday about the the similarities, Hamlet declined to elaborate. “That’s my educational philosophy,” he told the Post-Gazette.

The revelation comes as Hamlet seeks to defend his claims about his track record in the wake of a Palm Beach Post article that revealed a series of apparent misstatements on his resume.

At a news conference in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Hamlet admitted to misstating the performance of John F. Kennedy Middle during his time as principal.

But he gave ambiguous explanations for some of his other apparent misstatements, including his claims that he lifted Palm Beach Lakes High’s school grade from F to C and raised its graduation rate by 13 points.

 

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