It's over in New London, just step aside, Mr. Carter

Terrence P. Carter should withdraw his application to become superintendent of New London schools. The reporting of Day Staff Writer Colin A. Young disclosed that Mr. Carter lifted entire sections from the published writings of other academics and submitted the ideas as his own in his application for superintendent.

In other words, he plagiarized.

There is no explaining this away. The application provides no attribution crediting the actual authors of this information. He stole it. The audacity and recklessness that Mr. Carter displayed in doing so is stunning. The fact that paid consultants hired to screen candidates failed to detect it is troubling.

Before these revelations, it appeared only a matter of time that Mr. Carter was going to be rejected by the board. Earlier news reports showed Mr. Carter referenced as Dr. or possessing a Ph.D. on a dozen occasions in publications and event agendas. The problem is that Mr. Carter did not have a doctorate, and is still awaiting official recognition after concluding his doctoral work.

The applicant offered confusing explanations, including that these were the mistakes of others.

Faced with those concerns — but before the reports of plagiarism — the New London Board of Education, after having previously announced Mr. Carter as its choice, last week delayed acting on the approval of a contract for Mr. Carter. Instead, it ordered an investigation into the discrepancies on his record.

The intent, it appeared, was to build a case for dismissing the Illinois educator and insulating the school district against any potential claims by Mr. Carter for violating their agreement to hire him. There is no longer a need for investigations. The board now has solid grounds — a plagiarized application — to send Mr. Carter on his way.

Rather than force the school board’s hand, we would urge Mr. Carter to show some class and bow out.

That means renewing a superintendent search, which should take months. So who serves as superintendent? To us, the obvious choice is to continue with Dr. Nicholas Fischer, who told us he is willing to remain in place.

New London schools have shown academic progress during Dr. Fischer’s time as superintendent. As we have said in the past, our preference was for the Board of Education to renew his contract. However, politically speaking, that seems highly unlikely. Some people would have to admit they were wrong.

In the meantime, however, no one can provide a smoother transition into the coming school year than Dr. Fischer.

Finally, the school board should explore its legal options for a potential breach of contract action against McPherson and Jacobson of Nebraska, the consultant paid nearly $24,000 by the Board of Education to help in searching for candidates and to screen their backgrounds.

In the case of Mr. Carter, they clearly did not do their job.

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