It appears as if the president of a business coalition in support of Tom Luna's efforts to bring sweeping changes to Idaho schools lifted remarks from a German education analyst and used the same words in testimony before the Idaho legislature.
On Monday, Feb. 7, Vince Hannity, president of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, went before the Idaho Senate Education Committee to "strongly support" Luna's proposals, which include increasing class sizes, eliminating teaching positions and handing out laptops to all Idaho high schools.
In prepared remarks, Hannity said:
"The world is indifferent to tradition and past reputations, unforgiving of frailty and ignorant of custom and practice."
In an essay for the Education Directorate for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Andreas Schleicher, Education Directorate for the Paris-based organization wrote:
Hannity's testimony continued:
"Success will go to those individuals, states and countries that are swift to adapt."
Schleicher's essay continued:
When Citydesk asked Hannity if he was familiar with Schleicher, he said he wasn't. When we asked Hannity if he would be surprised that some of his testimony was practically verbatim to Schleicher's essay, Hannity said he used words that had been given to him.
"It wasn't my statement. I just used it," said Hannity. "Christine Donnell, our executive director, gave me the words."
When Citydesk asked Hannity if he had a problem with using someone else's words, he said no.
"So is there a problem with that? I'm not practicing journalism here," said Hannity. "Lots of people do this, and they don't always provide attribution."
Citydesk asked Hannity if IBCEE would be sending out a statement with proper attribution, Hannity said the organization would not.
"Why don't you go ahead and do that for me?" asked Hannity.