This morning’s Charleston Gazette-Mail has an interesting article by its education reporter, Ryan Quinn:
Chair may have plagiarized commentary
Quinn notes that WV Senate Education Chair Patricia Rucker’s op-ed, which was sent to the G-M and the Beckley Herald-Star (which published it yesterday), contains very similar language to a blog post at a pro-charter school site. Rucker used slightly-different punctuation and she added the words “natural” and “their” -- otherwise, the paragraphs are the same. Here’s the original by Laura Gelles at the Progressive Policy Institute’s website with Rucker’s two additions in bold):
For example, the community of Tidioute, PA, with a population of only 654 had success in establishing a charter school when the district proposed closing its school as a part of a consolidation. Because of their remote geography, distance from other communities, and the icy conditions they face in winter, the community members felt it was important to have a school located within Tidioute. Their charter school capitalizes on their tight-knit community and local natural resources to offer their students place-based education and a family-like culture.
Quinn also documents another paragraph that is very similar to one found at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ website.
Rucker did respond to the Gazette-Mail’s allegations:
“If it’s similar that’s pretty amazing,” she said. “It is an incredible coincidence.”
And later in the article:
“I wasn’t looking at their article when I was writing mine,” Rucker said, though she did say she had read it.
“I did not copy it from them, no,” she said. “I didn’t intend to copy it from them.”
It's reassuring to know that one of the leaders for the upcoming special legislative session on education will be a Republican senator who has home-schooled her children, promoted anti-vaccination legislation, and thinks nothing of claiming others' writings as her own.