This article in the New York Times caught my eye this evening. Not the smartest thing to do when you're a superintendent, to copy your speech of the internet. Then again, I feel we do sometimes loose perspective in these issues.
Only very rarely in our lives do we manage to be original. And in fact more often then not when we are, we are not as right or as effective as we could be. Perfection after all takes time, practice and experience. Our whole success as a species stems from our ability to copy each other.
So is it so bad to plagiarize? Sure, it is wrong to claim credit or ownership for something that is not your own. But when you are doing your job, isn't it perfectly normal to apply existing best practice to that job. In fact, aren't we all expected to do this? When doing this, we are not claiming ownership, or credit. We are merely utilizing the collective experience of our race to further our cause. In my opinion, that's the only thing this superintendent is really guilty of. Ok, maybe she could have made a bit more of an effort to rephrase some of the ideas and concepts she collected from the internet. Plagiarism however, is really not the issue here though, that is just taking things a tad too far.