Superintendent Fleishman’s Commencement Speech Controversy

Superintendent Fleishman’s Commencement Speech Controversy

July 30, 2014

Dear Families,

By now, many of you have read or heard media reports regarding the controversy surrounding my graduation speeches this past spring.  The students, families, community and faculty deserved far better from me and it is hard to put into words my deep regret and sorrow over my actions.

First, it was inexcusable that my graduation speech included several phrases and thoughts that were similar to the radio excerpts I heard from Governor Patrick’s speech.  It was essential that Governor Patrick be credited and cited for his words, and while it was not my intent to be so careless and intellectually dishonest, this was a very serious omission on my part.  I am terribly sorry for what I have done and for letting the community down.

Second, I apologize for not putting greater thought and time into my speeches.  As one who typically devotes considerable energy to both my written pieces and speeches, I learned a tough lesson about doing things in a sloppy and hasty manner.

Perhaps the most painful aspect of this episode is my failure to lead by example, something that I take very seriously.  I fully recognize that trust and confidence is an essential aspect of successful leadership and I am very sorry for what has been lost.  I am fully aware that it is up to me to restore such trust and confidence in the community and I will do everything possible to make that happen.

In the field of education, we often talk about learning from failures.  I can assure you that I have learned from mine.  As I have said many times, I consider it a great privilege to lead such an excellent school system and look forward to continuing to address the important opportunities and challenges ahead.


David Fleishman

Superintendent Fleishman’s Commencement Speech Controversy

The speech discrepencies were first noted on Newton South High School’s student newspaper here. This was the second time a Massachusetts superintendent was caught plagiaring. The penalty for plagiaring in Newton is a week’s pay.

I think Dr. Fleishman is doing a great job as superintendent and that this is a blip in an otherwise spotless record. He made a mistake, paid a price and it’s time to move on. What do you think? Agree, disagree or don’t really care? Please share!

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