Did RCS CSD Superintendent Alan McCartney Plagiarize 2014 Grad Speech?

03 Jul

Amid a small flurry of FaceBook exchanges it appears some parents believe that Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District interim Superintendent, Alan R. McCartney, may have plagiarized all or part of his RCS Class of 2014 commencement speech. Some even suggest that the 2014 graduation speech is substantially a repeat of McCarney’s 2013 graduation speech; that would mean that this is the second incident of plagiarism by the superintendent with an already stormy and shady past. What will the school district parents do? What will his special-interest-loaded board of education do? What will the Commissioner of Education do?

jay perrotte-mccartney plagiarized speech

RCS CSD Superintendent McCartney Steals Yoda’s Laurels!

RCS CSD Superintendent Alan R. McCartney Receives an Very Generous Salary from the Taxpayers of this District. Wouldn’t you think he’d take the time to at least write an original graduation speech to send off the new graduates? Do RCS graduates now have to deal with the stigma of having their superintendent steal his material for their rites of passage into the adult world? There’s an old saying that the “Fish rots from the head down.” We re-live that saying every day in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School Districts, don’t we?


What is plagiarism? Plagiarism is defined as “To take and use as one’s own the thoughts, writings or inventions of another” (Oxford English Dictionary). Plagiarism therefore has two elements: (1) taking another’s work and (2)using the work as your own.

Several local residents have asked McCartney’s office for any recordings of the suspect speech and we have made a direct request to McCartney himself, putting a deadline for his response at close-of-business on July 3, 2014. The McCartney speech, it is alleged, used material from a speech published by one Jonathan E. Martin entitled “Yoda’s Teachings.” A parent attending the Class of 2014 graduation event felt there was something odd about McCartney’s speech and investigated further (see the extract from the parent’s FaceBook post on RCS Friends and More). In response to Mr Perrotte’s observations and conclusions other parents chimed in with their comments.

We have demanded a response from Mr McCartney and have notified all members of the RCS CSD board of education. We want this clarified NOW! Here’s what we wrote (Susan Starr is the clerk of the RCS CSD; McCartney’s e-mail address is not published):

Dear Ms Starr:
Please advise Mr McCartney urgently of this matter.
We urge you to respond immediately with any recordings of Mr McCartney’s 2014 graduation speech. It seems that a number of parents have expressed the concern that Mr McCartney may have purloined all or a substantial part of his graduation speech from an Internet source on the same subject, Yoda.
Unless we receive Mr McCartney’s explicit and express denial of such plagiarism together with a copy of any recording of the actual speech delivered at the 2014 RCS graduation event by no later than close of business (5 p.m. EST), we intend to publish the allegations and to prosecute Mr McCartney’s resignation.
Our interim publication of the allegations will note that we have made this demand; our final publication will reflect your response to this demand.
Please confirm receipt of this communication.
Assuring you of our best intentions,
The Editor
Smalbany Blog

We’d like to clear this up once and for all but to do that we need Mr McCarntney to either deny the allegations and to provide a recording of the speech he delivered at the RCS Class of 2014 graduation event OR to show convincing evidence that he gave credits for the allegedly purloined material used in his speech. We’d also like to remind our readers that such conduct by a person in McCartney’s position has resulted in resignation by the school official.

This is a preliminary report of the facts as of 10 a.m. on July 3, 2014. This report will be updated as we receive more information. If you have any information or a recording of the McCarney speech delivered on June 28, 2014, on the occasion of the RCS Class of 2014 graduation, please provide a copy to as soon as possible.


The Clock's Ticking Time for Action The Editor

The Clock’s Ticking
Time for Action
The Editor

“Qui tacet consentire videtur ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.”
“Silence is admission when when the accused ought to have spoken and was able to.”

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7 responses to “Did RCS CSD Superintendent Alan McCartney Plagiarize 2014 Grad Speech?

  1. confused

    July 4, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I am so sick an tired of people using kids and our town to get something they want ,cause they don`t like that person or the way something has been done in the town…….Some people can say or do anything to hurt a kid and they don`t say one word about that and vote that person into a place of power just cause they like that person……They never check out if what was said is true or not…….I don`t know if Dr. McCartney did plagiarism or not…..I do know not one kids got hurt, mentally or physically……..But it was grown ups that got their feathers ruffled lol….These kids didn`t even care about this speech all they wanted was to get their diploma and go to the party`s of friends and family`s…..Grown ups need to grow up find out what really hurts our kids and not them….


    • RCS Confidential

      July 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

      We’re sick and tired of it, too! We’re sick and tired of the special interests that run the schools and stack the deck in favor of egos and unions at the expense of local property owners, the one’s who pay for the schools. And we’re sick and tired of the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes, like RSOs getting too cozy with wrestling coache. And we’re sick and tired of the money that goes to benefit the low-life breeders who breed but don’t parent and then complain. Yes! We’re very sick of teachers and RSOs who have authority over young, developing minds and don’t give a damned what effect they’re having on them. Maybe that’s why all the kids care about is picking up a meaningless piece of cardstock, affectionately called a “diploma”, and getting to the “party.” Well, the learning isn’t certified by the diploma, but by the quality of what that’s kid’s learned in the 12 or so years she or he’s been exposed to those teachers and administrators. We see what they’ve learned when we watch them drive, hear them speak, how they dress, their belief in higher power, transcendence, if you prefer, the ability to fail and start up again, and in honesty and integrity! It’s not reaching the goal, it’s how you got there that determines the game, really. Get to the goal by kicking, gouging and biting and you get [should get] suspended or banned from the game, even if the mahem was interesting to the observer in some wierd way. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re teaching our young people, Confused. Maybe that’s why you call yourself “confused”? By what you say in your comment you are very confused. Plagiarism is what gets you failed in a course; plagiarism is what gets you suspended from an institute of higher learning; plagiarism gets you fired from a good job. Plagiarism, and don’t be confused about this, Confused, is very, very serious. It’s dishonesty and theft. Read the definition. If our teachers and administrators don’t serve as the role models of integrity and honesty you put out a crop of perverts, you dump a class of future crooks out on society (I guess that’s how RCS and this area has become what it is). When you condone dishonesty and theft at any level, especially in highly visible, highly influential levels like in teachers and the head of the entire school district, the superintendent, then you are sending a very, very bad message.

      The persons posting the original astonishment and horror on Facebook were not just anyone, they are parents who entrust their children to the school system. They are taxpayers who have every right to demand honesty and integrity in the teaching and administrative staff. They are citizens hoping that the schools we pay for are producing graduates who have good moral values, ethics, and value honesty and integrity, and so are able to employ their booklearning not simply for personal gain and advancement but for the good of society. That is where this district, these communities have FAILED miserably. That’s why we have the shit that’s going on in the schools, in the town and village halls, in the police departments.

      And YES! Grownups need to grow up and think like grownups! The concerned parents have done that, apparently, and don’t like what they see. Some others may think it’s all right to attend a commencement event, grab the diploma, and then get down to some serious drinking, partying, and maybe get lucky. But there’s more to a full life than that. Only the confused think otherwise.

      We’re not confused. We know the value of a good well-rounded education. We’ve played the game and won not just to get a lot of paper to hang up behind our desk (In fact, after earning several university degrees, you won’t find one displayed in my office saying how “smart” or how “great” I am. Not a single one.) And when a leader in the community, whether the mayor, supervisor, police chief or school superintendent is not the epitome of good citizenship, honesty, and integrity, he or she has to GO!

      The Editor

      By the way: Parents should start rethinking that they themselves are the primary role models and, if they are providing good modelling for their sons and daughters, they should be duly incensed that the schools and edcuation officials and employees are providing such abyssmally poor modelling. Think about that.


  2. CKP

    July 3, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Seems at least possible:

    “the ultimate purpose of Yoda’s teachings is to elevate his students to go out to the universe and conquer evil”

    “The ultimate purpose of Yoda’s training was to help new Jedi go out and conquer evil”
    Lekocevic, Melanie. “RCS graduates look to the future.” Ravena News Herald. June 29, 2014.

    Incidentally, even though students need to be residents of the school district, school superintendents evidently don’t even have to be residents of New York. There’s been a bill in the NYS Legislature which would make residency in New York a legal requirement; it doesn’t appear to have passed It falls short of what seems most appropriate: that school superintendents be residents of the school district in which they’re to work.

    It’s not clear to me why the Public Officers Law wouldn’t apply to school superintendents: “No person shall be capable of holding a civil office who shall not, at the time he shall be chosen thereto […] be a citizen of the United States, a resident of the state, and if it be a local office, a resident of the political subdivision or municipal corporation of the state for which he shall be chosen, or within which the electors electing him reside, or within which his official functions are required to be exercised” The Public Officers Law offers a number of unwarranted BS exemptions of questionable constitutionality, e.g. that it “shall not apply to the appointment of public officers in the city of Troy, except the city manager of such city, provided that such appointed officers are residents of the county of Rensselaer.” I don’t see an exemption pertaining to education or schools.

    McCartney was living in the Village of Voorheesville in the Town of New Scotland two years ago


    • Simon

      July 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Not that it matters for the conversation, but a School Superintendent isn’t a “civil office”. That’s why school district lines aren’t at the same location as town lines, and why if a school is having a hard fiscal year that the town government can’t just give money. Unless you’re Bethlehem where you can give loans. 🙂



      • RCS Confidential

        July 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        That’s true, Simon, but I think we’re splitting hairs. The black letter may not apply directly but the tenor of the commentor’s citation bears some appreciation, because it would make sense to require school district superintendents to live in the district they “superintend.” A provision similar to that that applies to BoE members.

        But you are quite right, the comment does navigate perilously close to being off-topic, since it doesn’t address the seminal issue: Did McCarntney plagiarize all or part of his commencement address?

        Thanks very much and enjoy a safe and pleasant 4th.



    • RCS Confidential

      July 3, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Nice comment in general. Thank you! But what about the allegation of McCartney’s plagiarism? Any thoughts on that specifically?



      • CKP

        July 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm

        I cited one specific instance where McCartney appeared to have engaged in plagiarism. Those two pieces appear to be the only texts on the Internet that use “ultimate purpose of Yoda’s” and might be the only texts that have “go out […] and conquer evil.”

        If he indeed engaged in plagiarism, that’s inexcusable – a school superintendent setting terrible example for students and staff alike. I hope a recording of the entire speech is made public.

        It doesn’t seem to me that the NYS Dep’t of Education or US Dep’t of Education care much about academic integrity. People that are demonstrably corrupt get awards or promotions. Meanwhile the American educational system continues to lag behind others Again, inexcusable.



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