Christine Donnell should understand the consequences of plagiarism. When she was superintendent of the Meridian School District, the largest in the state, she oversaw a policy that prohibits stealing someone else's words. District policy states that "the consequence for plagiarism is a zero on the assignment."
To that end, Vince Hannity, president of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence, flunked out Feb. 7 when he lifted someone else's words for testimony before the Idaho Senate Education Committee. Yet Hannity wouldn't take all the blame. He was quick to share the unsavory act with Donnell, executive director of IBCEE.
"It wasn't my statement," said Hannity. "I just used it. One of my colleagues, Christine Donnell, gave it to me."
While testifying in favor of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's sweeping plan for education reform, Hannity lauded the proposals as "bold and innovative." He didn't stop there.
"The world is indifferent to tradition and past reputations, unforgiving of frailty and ignorant of custom and practice," said Hannity.
It's heady stuff but the words belong to someone else. In a 2010 essay for the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Education Directorate Andreas Schleicher wrote:
"In 2010, the world is now more indifferent to tradition and past reputations of educational establishments. It is unforgiving to frailty and ignorant of custom or practice."
In last week's testimony, Hannity continued:
"Success will go to those individuals, states and countries that are swift to adapt."
In 2010, Schleicher wrote:
"Success will go to those individuals and countries that are swift to adapt."
When BW asked if he knew of Schleicher, Hannity said, "No, I'm not familiar with him."
Hannity said he had no problem lifting someone else's words.
"So?" responded Hannity. "So I used somebody else's language. I'm not practicing journalism here. Lots of people do this, and they don't always provide the attribution for it. Is that wrong as well?"
When BW asked if Hannity or Donnell would issue a correction or proper attribution, Hannity said, "Why don't you go ahead and do that for me?"