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Chris Spence, Director of Education, TDSB, briefs the media following a Resource Allocation Review meeting with trustees in Toronto on Dec. 6, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Chris Spence, Director of Education, TDSB, briefs the media following a Resource Allocation Review meeting with trustees in Toronto on Dec. 6, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

TDSB director resigns over plagiarism, PhD dissertation includes unattributed passages Add to ...

This matches exactly, including capitalization for emphasis, an on-line copy of words spoken during a 2008 luncheon talk at Trinity Washington University.

“We have not educated you to be a bystander,” university president Patricia McGuire said. “You are not just a face in the crowd already forgotten by the powerful people passing by. YOU are one of those powerful people, and YOU will be watched, critiqued, criticized and complimented, and through all of those tests you will be held up as a role model and exemplar.”

In another example, Dr. Spence referred on Oct. 21, 2011, to the different reality in Chinese schools. “In Chinese schools, teachers are respected, and the most admired student is often the brain rather than the jock or class clown,” he writes.

This observation had earlier been made by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Teachers are much respected, and the most admired kid is often the brain rather than the jock or class clown,” he wrote in January of 2011.

In another entry on Chinese schools the same day, he discussed concerns about standardized test scores. “There are extremists at both ends of the education spectrum — i.e., those telling us international tests are meaningless and those claiming the scores are a sure sign that the sky is falling,” he wrote.

A Time magazine piece published online earlier that year made the same point. “But the extremists at both ends of the education spectrum — i.e., those telling us international tests are meaningless and those claiming the scores are a sure sign that the sky is falling — are wrong,” Andrew Rotherham wrote in January of 2011.

In another case, a post by Dr. Spence in the autumn of 2010 notes that “students should be taught not only the ability to master, access and use factual knowledge, but also the ability to challenge assumptions, to interrogate and reconstruct knowledge and learn to know, to care and to act. This type of teaching will educate ‘students' heads, but also their hearts,’ and create transformative citizens who are prepared to take an active role in their society and work for social justice. A person is not simply a citizen of one country or a member of one ethnic group. Instead, our identities incorporate a variety of factors, including nation and race, but also sexual orientation, religion, language and class.

This is very similar to language used in the spring of 2008 in a press release posted on-line by the University of Virginia, which describes a talk by Professor James Banks.

“Banks stated that students should be taught not only ‘the ability to master, access and use factual knowledge, but also the ability to challenge assumptions, to interrogate and reconstruct knowledge’ and learn ‘to know, to care, and to act,’ the three goals of global citizenship education,” the release states.

 

“This type of teaching will educate ‘students' heads, but also their hearts,’ and create ‘transformative’ citizens who are prepared to take an active role in their society and work for social justice. The notion of simple patriotism to one nation has become obsolete and our society needs to accept the multi-dimensional nature of diversity, Banks said. A person is not simply a citizen of one country or a member of one ethnic group. Instead, one's identity incorporates a variety of factors, including nation and race, but also factors such as sexual orientation, religion, language and class.”

 

And in a speech available on YouTube, Dr. Spence says that “one of the things that we need to continue to do is to create schools for the 21st century, which really requires less time looking in the rear-view mirror and more vision anticipating the road ahead. Almost identical words are credited ((https://sites.google.com/site/usd343trc/project-definition)) on-line to a George Lucas and appear in a presentation called Edutopia.

Dr. Spence’s work was already under the spotlight after he admitted lifting material from multiple sources for an article in the Toronto Star. In a statement posted at the TDSB site, he pledged to have the offending article removed and his apology put in its place.

“It goes without saying that it will never happen again,” he wrote. “And I intend to take real and meaningful steps to learn from this, and learn how to avoid a reoccurrence.” (sic)

In his writing of the article, he explained, he had copied material from elsewhere and then gone back and used it, apparently in the belief that it was his own. He made no mention of other instances.

With reports from Kate Hammer, Oliver Moore, Adrian Morrow and Stephen Spencer Davis

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