Pennsylvania Official Resigns in Wake of Plagiarism Charges
Harrisburg, Pa--Pennsylvania Commissioner of Basic Education Ronald Lewis, who declined a cabinet post in New Jersey after being accused of plagiarism, resigned under fire last week.
New allegations that Mr. Lewis also copied without attribution an article that appeared under his byline in a federal-government publication in April, apparently prompted Mr. Lewis's decision.
In a letter to Gov. Richard L. Thornburgh, Mr. Lewis denied any wrongdoing and blamed his plight on media and political opponents of the Governor who he said had "sensationalized and blown out of proportion" allegations that he had copied major portions of his doctoral thesis and an article that appeared in a federal government publication.
The new charge of plagiarism--which was being investigated--involved a 17-page article in a collection published in "Dimensions of Cultural Diversity," compiled by International Business Services Inc. (ibs), a Washington-based consulting firm under a contract with the Education Department.
The chapter mirrored, with only minor wording changes, major sections in a 77-page book, "Developmental Supervision: Alternative Practices for Helping Teachers Improve Instruction," by Carl Glickman, that was published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ascd) in 1981.
Ronald Brandt, ascd's executive editor, said his organization would submit the matter to its executive council to see if legal action is warranted.
He said "98 percent" of Mr. Lewis's article "was taken word for word" from the Glickman book.
Violation of Copyright Laws
"We are very concerned because it is a violation of copyright laws,'' he said, adding that ascd probably would place an announcement in its publication "informing our readers that the material he used is copyrighted and was originally developed by Carl Glickman." Some 35,000 people receive the publication, he said.
Mr. Lewis acknowledged that his article had been derived, in large part, from the Glickman book, but said it had been submitted in the form of "notes" from a work-shop presentation he had conducted in July for ibs He said someone at the firm revised the "notes" and published them without his knowledge.
"I submitted 71 pages of a workshop presentation to (ibs) in August ... making the assumption they would be sent back to me for addition of a bibliography and footnotes to give proper credit if it was to be used," Mr. Lewis said.
He admitted he had signed a "subcontract" with ibs specifying that all unattributed works must be "original."
Mr. Lewis withdrew his name from consideration for the position of commissioner of education in New Jersey last month after a newspaper there reported he apparently had plagiarized large portions of a doctoral thesis completed nine years ago at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
A panel of five faculty members there is reviewing the paper and is expected to release its findings later this month.
In accepting Mr. Lewis's resignation, Governor Thornburgh said he "regretted the circumstances which led you to this action." A spokeman for the governor said the resignation had not been requested by the administration.