Amid further reports of plagiarism, Toronto schools official resigns

CBC News | National Post | The Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

Chris Spence resigned as director of education for the Toronto District School Board Thursday. He'd already apologized for plagiarizing portions of an opinion piece published in the Toronto Star, and more allegations of plagiarism had surfaced.

Another Spence op-ed "closely resembles" a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Megan O'Toole and Chris Selley write in the National Post, and "Huge swaths of the remaining narrative appear to have been copied from a grab bag of sources: the Post-Dispatch, the Sacramento Bee and the San Diego Union-Tribune."

It gets worse: "parts of Dr. Spence’s dissertation, submitted in 1996 for his Ph.D." from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education "appear to have been copied from unattributed sources," Oliver Moore and Simona Chiose report in The Globe and Mail. Moore and Chiose detail several more instances of apparent plagiarism, as does The Star's Laura Kane, who adds to the canon yet another Star op-ed in which Spence plagiarized.

Spence's incredible example aside, two other education-related plagiarism incidents have made the news lately: A New Jersey school superintendent didn't attribute words from another superintendent in a holiday message. And a Minnesota school board voted out a member who plagiarized in an newsletter article.

In a letter of apology published on the Toronto school board's website before he decided to resign, Spence said he planned to enroll in an ethics course at a Toronto university that included teaching on how to avoid plagiarism.

Previously: Toronto school board director admits plagiarism in Toronto Star piece

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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