Schools take plagiarism very seriously. Every public school has strict consequences for plagiarism, and all colleges and universities expel students for submitting someone else’s work without citation. There are tools available on the internet such as Copyscape or Grammerly that students, or anyone for that matter, can use to check and make sure their content is original.
A new school like for-profit charter school Gateway To Success Academy in Scottville has to know how important it is to set a good example for their students when it comes to avoiding plagiarism – especially when it comes to providing accurate financial data to the community – because it is required by law.
So when Gateway To Success announces on Facebook they’re updating their website and invite readers to check it out, what else is there to do on a quiet, rainy Sunday morning in October?
The coffee-fueled adventure started out rather disappointing. No new blog entries, no new links to Ludington Daily News singing the praises of this charter school that is only ahead of the curve because they actually managed to open their doors. The board minutes are available through July of 2016. There’s some good reading there, including one mention of continuing to pump stories to the Ludington Daily News to gin up interest.
And there is the transparency portal to the schools’ financial records. Every school website has one because as stated earlier, it’s required by law to fully disclose all salary and budget information to the public. Since the school is new, there won’t be much to look at … or will there.
The first link looks fine: A PDF file of the charter school’s budget for the year. Looking down, something peculiar caught the Up North Progressive’s eye, because this is something you never see on a charter school website:
- Collective Bargaining Agreements
- HEA Master Agreement
- HESPA Contract
- HMMAA Agreement
- Policy Manual for Instructional Assistants
- Interpreter Agreement
HEA in case you’re wondering is the acronym for Holland Education Association, the local union for the teachers who are members of the MEA at Holland Public Schools. Why is HEA negotiating teacher contracts for Gateway To Success? Trick question, they’re not. That’s right, Gateway To Success Academy linked to the transparency documents hosted on the website for Holland Public Schools. Every single link, other than the first one, is a budget or salary document from Holland Public Schools transparency report.
It’s important to point out that not only is Gateway To Success Academy plagiarizing a large chunk of Holland Public Schools transparency report, but they’re leaching from the HPS website by directly linking those PDF files to Gateway To Success Academy’s website. Both of these things are very bad and very wrong to do.
Upon discovering this bizarre anomaly, the Up North Progressive emailed the contact for Holland Public Schools to see if they know what’s going on. What a pleasant surprise, they responded almost right away!
It appears the contact from Holland Public Schools is just as puzzled as the Up North Progressive.
How wonderful it must be to be a for-profit charter school like Gateway To Success Academy and use another school’s transparency report and pass it off as their own. John Wilson and Jamie Bandstra opened this charter school’s doors in September of 2016 with the promise of 100% graduation rate or triple your money back … Okay, that last part is made up, but the surprises never end when it comes to the malignant cancer that is charter schools in Michigan. A real public school has to provide the financials for their own school. Gateway To Success gets to use the data from a school district a hundred miles away and hope nobody notices.
And the lesson for today kids: Plagiarism is NEVER cool.