‘You Can’t Be the Director of Education and Plagiarizing’: Chris Spence Resigns as Head of School Board

Megan O’Toole and Chris Selley, National Post, January 11, 2013

The man who oversees the education of 250,000 Toronto students resigned Thursday after the National Post uncovered evidence suggesting he is a serial plagiarist, and as more investigation finds yet further evidence of copied material in his public writings.

Toronto District School Board director Chris Spence, a former football player and educator hired to the board’s top job in 2009, said the move came after extensive consultation with family and friends.

Chris Pence

Chris Pence

“My life’s work has been education, and the education of young people,” Mr. Spence noted in a resignation letter released by the Daisy Consulting Group, a public-relations firm he hired to deal with the fallout.

In apologizing for his transgressions, Mr. Spence cited “great sadness and regret,” but said he no longer wished to be a “distraction” to the board.

“More than anything else, I regret that I have not set a good or proper example for the many thousands of young people I’ve been privileged to meet and know,” Mr. Spence said. “I intend to continue to do the things I pledged to do—to restore my reputation, and to uphold the academic integrity I consider to be so important. But most importantly, to make amends for what I have done.”

Through a spokeswoman, he declined further comment.

The Spence saga began to unfold Wednesday, when the energetic and popular director admitted to plagiarizing portions of an opinion piece on the importance of extracurricular sports that appeared in the Toronto Star last weekend.

A follow-up investigation by the Post revealed numerous other instances of apparent plagiarism in Mr. Spence’s columns, speeches and personal blog.

Even his doctoral thesis contains some passages that do not appear properly attributed, although much of the document is meticulously sourced.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Post was still finding additional instances of apparent plagiarism. In many cases, Mr. Spence appears to have pulled verbatim material from three or four different sources and repurposed them into a single work without attribution.

In other cases, he seems to have relied heavily on a single source. A September 2010 blog posting about social justice in education contains numerous passages that echo a story in a Virginia University publication, including the following word-for-word segment: “I am deeply concerned about an education that is narrowly defined as academic achievement in basic skills. Reading, writing and arithmetic are only important if they serve to make students humane.”

Just last March, at a TEDx talk in Stouffville, Mr. Spence told a story in which he says he visited a Grade 2 girl who was drawing a beautiful picture. “I’m drawing God,” she said. “But no one’s ever seen God before,” he said, to which she replied: “Well, they will in a minute.”

It was a lovely story. It was also an exact replica of a well-known tale frequently recounted by renowned educator Sir Kenneth Robinson.

Mr. Spence, who earned close to $300,000 in salary and benefits last year, steps down effective immediately. TDSB chair Chris Bolton vowed to ensure “stability” in the wake of his departure, noting Donna Quan, the board’s deputy director of academics, will become interim director—a move the board is expected to confirm at a special meeting Friday.

“As soon as information is available, staff, students and their families will be informed of any further developments,” Mr. Bolton said. The board’s last search for a director took about eight months, he said.

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • I hesitate to say this, very much, but…at least he had the grace to admit his wrongdoing. At least he fessed up to being wrong, and realized that he was wrong. A rare trait, seldom found among the negro race. At least the guy recognizes that he screwed up. They used to say, “you are a credit to your race.” Let this guy be a credit to his race.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      I agree with that, but we’re probably seeing just the tip of the iceberg.

    • Avid Reader

      I would argue that Whites (especially White men) are much less likely to admit wrongdoing. Blacks, Hispancis and other non-Whiotes are much quicker to admit trangressions.

      • Ashton


    • JackKrak

      Maybe so, but it’s just to ease the path into his next job.
      A black man who was in charge of a major metropolitan school board looking for a job? Doesn’t matter why he left it – his phone is already ringing.

    • What grace? They caught him red-handed. He could hardly deny the evidence; it’s blatant.

  • Doppleganger

    Plagiarism isn’t race specific. Another well known case that happened in Canada less than 2 years ago involved the Dean of Medicine at the University of Alberta, Philip Baker (who is white), copied part of a graduation speech he delivered at a convocation banquet, and was subsequently caught.

    • Kiwi

      I don’t consider self-plagarism a big deal despite being told otherwise. How can you steal an idea from yourself?

      • Doppleganger

        It wasn’t self plagiarism. Part of the speech he gave at convocation was lifted from another source. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

      • bigone4u

        Because you get credit for it twice, thus artificially inflating your acccomplishments and your salary. Academics who self plagarize are lazy or dumb, so commit fraud to punch up their paycheck.

    • The__Bobster

      While Whites have their faults, most pathologies are far more common among the darkies.

    • Brent

      I agree. Actually, it is more common among Whites.

  • Tom_in_Miami

    “It was a lovely story. It was also an exact replica of a well-known tale
    frequently recounted by renowned educator Sir Kenneth Robinson.” It was also used by George Will in a speech he made to CPAC in 2010. It begins at about 2:50. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhFBWw8bsAA

  • falsedawn

    A black guy is the head of the Toronto BOE? Good to know Canadians are as looney as we are.

    • The__Bobster

      So are their coins.


      Because of the appearance of the common loon on the back of the dollar coin that
      replaced the dollar bill in 1987, the word “loonie” was adopted in Canadian parlance to distinguish the Canadian dollar coin from the dollar bill. When the two-dollar coin was
      introduced in 1996, the derivative word “toonie” (“two loonies”) became the common word for it in Canadian English slang. The term “loonie” is frequently used for the Canadian dollar as a currency, as opposed to the American dollar.

    • TheAntidote

      Perhaps they’re even loonier. After all they cut him loose after discovering the fraud and the bullcrap, which would seem to indicate they hired him with full faith in his credentials and abilities. In the USA he would have been apologized to and possibly given a promotion.

      • He’ll get a job in the United States almost immediately. Blacks who regularly wear suits and ties and can speak in occasional complete sentences, even if they’re someone else’s sentences, are in way too high demand by urban school districts, and in way too short of a supply, just to let linger around out there. The questionably accurate online encyclopedia lists his age at either 50 or 51, so he’s yet young enough for at least four more stints as the Stuporintendent of a large urban public school district before he retires to The Bahamas.

        • Unperson

          Blacks who regularly wear suits and ties and can speak in occasional complete sentences…

          Yep. And, as you can see, they don’t even need to be nice suits and ties. Even cheap, ugly ones will do.

          And yes, as a different commenter noted, Spence does look like Idi Amin.

          • jim

            He is no doubt beseiged by young white women!

        • jim

          Just like when Barrack Obama became President massive numbers of young black males said,”OK! NOW I am gonna study!” and then became incredible students?

    • jim

      Excuse me sir but he was a FOOTBALL payer,OK?????

    • mrcan

      I respectfully disagree! Canadian’s are much loonier than American’s. The insidious political correctness in this country is crippling. We have observed the mistakes of our neighbours to the south and still we import more and more 3rd world immigrants each year to add to the bloated social welfare system, while the real income of Canadian born citizens is shrinking. We are loons!

  • Even his doctoral thesis contains some passages that do not appear
    properly attributed, although much of the document is meticulously

    Even so, do we think that doctoral theses in education are really that profound? I’m hardly defending this goofball, but there is so little that can actually be said in the education field, much less new, that it’s almost inevitable just based on circumstance and the law of averages that even when you don’t think you’re plagiarizing, you actually will be ripping off ideas that half the education majors have already “thought” of.

    • falsedawn

      Bingo – After talking to a “teacher/educator” for about five minutes, you know their intellectual bottom feeders

    • Anon

      You don’t understand. Blacks are incapable of putting two words together coherently. It is literally nothing for a normal but lazy person to simply restate an old idea and then put a cite on it. Even to the point of taking whole paragraphs out of another work to make a point, setting it in small print so that everyone knows its quote. These things are EASY for anyone with a high school level education but quite beyond the grasp of 99% of negros.

      They take pages and pages of other works and sew them together verbatim, often in a way that makes no sense. They do it for two reasons. First, they don’t understand the other persons work, often even on a surface level, let alone any depth. And, more to the point, they can’t write a coherent paragraph that makes any sense whatsoever…..and that is assuming they can actually read and understand enough about writing to make a complete sentence. Something almost zero blacks can do.

      So a black “scholar”, who can’t read, certainly can’t write, can barely understand the multiple choice tests he’s been coached through while people of other races with an agenda pretend to educate him in college and then graduate school. Such a person has a choice when he has to produce an actual written work of some sort. He can cut and paste the works of others and hope nobody notices he has no idea what he is talking about (the MLK method). Or (far more common these days), he simply hires a white person to ghost write for him (the Obama method).

      This isn’t about original thought, writing skill, rhetorical ability or anything like that. It’s an issue of being able to read. Being able to write something more complicated than a sticky note reminder you post on your fridge. HE CANNOT DO THESE THINGS.

      We all pretend that he can. And that is a problem.

      • OlderWoman

        ‘…he simply hires a white person to ghost write for him (the Obama method).’

        This sounds plausible.

  • Robert Binion

    Amid the cacophony of television, radio and internet, I am at times too befuddled to know which thoughts are truly my own. I give a mere pinch of plagiarism a pass. Hey, I’m no scholar. But especially loathsome are celebrities who affix their names to the work of ghost writers.

  • George

    He’s had some wonderful role models.

    Martin Luther King Jr plagiarised large segments of his doctoral dissertation. He also ‘borrowed extensively’ for his undergrad papers and sermons. ‘I have a dream’ was plagiarised in large part from Archibald Carey.

    Alex Haley, of course, not only made up his ‘roots’ for ‘Roots’, but entire sections of the book were plagiarised from white author Harry Courlander’s The African. http://www.amren.com/news/2012/03/alex-haleys-fraudulent-roots/

    Spence, of course, was gung-ho for the imposition of afro-centric studies:

    He championed reforms like mentoring programs for boys left behind in
    the school system, and an Africentric program to give black students a
    better chance at succeeding in school. But he rubbed many people the
    wrong way, as Rick Salutin writes on the opposite page, with such showy
    gestures as a controversial revival-style pep rally for teachers. In the
    end, though, he turned out to be his own worst enemy.


    Of course, not all blacks are plagiarists. Vice-Messiah Joe Biden has done more than his share, too. During his first year year at Syracuse Law School, he was accused of having plagiarised 5 of 15 pages of a law review article. And most of us may remember his 1988 presidential campaign being derailed after he plagiarised British Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock as well as speeches by JFK, RFK and Hubert Humphrey.

    It’s when they manage to come up with an original thought that they become dangerous.

    • There’s another field: Political rhetoric has become so banal and predictable that it’s hard not to plagiarize someone else. The prime time evening talk shows and News Church (Sunday morning talkers) have become are the same 10-20 talking points delivered by the same 100-200 people.

      • George

        There’s nothing wrong with quoting, say, Churchill. Just give him credit when you’re talking about fighting on the beaches & landing grounds, in the streets and in the hills.

        Something along the lines of ‘I share with ‘X’ the idea that…’, or ”Y’ was right when he said…’, or ‘it has never been expressed more presciently when ‘Z’ said…’, or ‘Churchill’s words call us to action. We shall never surrender’!

        The leftwit MSM loves to gush about how wonderful an orator the Annointed One is. Claiming the work of others, or presenting words as one’s own is, indeed, plagiarism. Sir Isaac Newton wrote about ‘standing on the backs of giants’. There’s no shame in building on the rhetorical achievements of one’s forebears. There *is* shame in presenting their finely-hewn phrasology as one’s own.

  • jay11

    It was racists who fabricated all those allegations. Such a great man could never be guilty of those white man crimes! He will be calling al sharpton to organize a civil rights march up there any day now! Reinstatement with back pay and MANDATORY diversity training for any and all whites involved in this sordid witch hunt! C’mon, we all know the drill.

  • Greg Thomas

    Why does this guy remind me of Idi Amin?

    • IstvanIN

      He looks like a young cannibal.

    • George

      Most amazing man there’s ever been.
      He be de general, de president, de king of the scene
      Idi, Idi, Idi Amin.

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      He’s black; he’s stupid, and he has/had power

  • TheAntidote

    A friend of mine taught art history on the community college level. He told me that one year a middle aged black woman turned in a paper on the subject of Greco-Roman statuary. It was an apparent cut and paste plagiarism, with the curious retention of the foot note numbers in the text—without the footnotes. When he asked her what exactly all those numbers were she answered, “They’re very important…..”

  • Frank

    Chris Spence the plagiarizing nignog.
    Another bantu promoted well beyond his mental capacity just because he is a bantu.
    I’ll bet he will miss is quarter of a million dollar a year salary.

  • Hans Schneider

    surprised ? I think not…

  • Sloppo

    It’s probably not good for a plagiarist like him to oversee the education of 250,000 students, but if he cavorts with white prostitutes and joins the communist party maybe they will make his birthday a national holiday.

  • SintiriNikos

    I wondering if he ‘retired’ like that judge Carnella something, and therefore be eligible for retirement benefits.

    • George

      Speaking of her, I did a bit of research on her local credibility and her law school, posted on the thread for her article here in AmRen.

      Spence resigned. His resignation letter was ‘released’ by the Daisy Consulting Group. I can’t help but to wonder whether he wrote it himself, or someone there did it for him.

  • SintiriNikos

    Shouldn’t he be arrested too? After all, otherwise doing what he did is pretty much no-risk, especially among people who could care less about reputation. I bet most of the liberals in Toronto pity him and would give him a second and third and fourth chance if they could.

  • lost angeles

    I substituted in a south central Los Angeles school called a Community High School for Social Justice/Global Issues. These are some of the posters on the walls of a taxpayer funded public high school in south LA:

    you don’t like the resistance, then end the occupation. Free Palestine.’

    ‘Stand up for Mumia (Abu Jamal -convicted cop killer). Pack the
    theater. Madison Square Garden May 7 Fight police terror.’

    ‘all oppression creates a state of war’

    ‘Raise our voices against the tanks! join with us and swell our ranks!

    Rid the world of evil tanks funded by the evil banks!’

    “Social Justice” is the centerpiece of current educational philosophy in Los Angeles and elsewhere. It is an Orwellian, mind numbing exercise in anti-white, anti-western culture bigotry. There are schools all over the the city that are called Social Justice Academies. As soon as they rebrand your child’s school an ‘academy’, get that child OUT! But you know this.

    • OlderWoman

      Social Justice…launched by Jesuits at Vatican II.

      • TeutonicKnight67

        There’s a reason the Jesuits were suppressed in the 18th century. They surely were infected with leftist revolutionary thought by then. St. Ignatius Loyola must weep at what they have become.

        • OlderWoman

          I’ve read the books about Loyola, those published by Catholic publishers and you are entirely wrong. Loyola organized them to create the Counter Reformation and bring the world under the control of the Vatican. Read Redistribution of Wealth from Rerum Novarum and google Liberation Theology. Loyola was a leftist from the time he began his Spiritual Exercises.
          Since the Society began they’ve infiltrated every culture, every religion, every ideology to control them. They are, indeed, highly intelligent and crafty men.

          • TeutonicKnight67

            I appreciate the info. I agree that the Jesuits are crafty and invasive but no more so than the Internationalist Freemasonry that they seem to imitate or perhaps even practice. I will check out the texts you listed but I remain unconvinced that St Ignatius was a “leftist” because he fought the Protestant Reformation. Liberation Theology is a 19th and 20th century movement which continues to plague the Western world.

          • OlderWoman

            Read “Jesuit Plots from Elizabethan to Modern Times” by Albert Close and “The Jesuits” by Malachy Martin.

          • Frank

            The Jesuits control freemasonry.

            They wrote the last 25 degrees of Scottish Rite Freemasonry and the Grand Orient Lodge that all the leaders of Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa belong to.

    • jim

      Those guys accused of occupying Palestine, whom you apparently have so much love for,they bombed an American ship,the USS Liberty and murdered 34 Americans. ( I can hear the reply:”Oh no not THAT again! Worried about a few dead guys when all of our dear friend ISRAEL in in peril!!?”

      • George

        34 in 1967, vs. exactly how many white Americans killed Every. Flippin’. Year. by blacks?

        Jews and/or Israelis aren’t the problem. You could look to the USS Arizona to blame asians, or the USS Oliver Hazzard Perry to blame Moslems.

        The fact is, blacks kill more white Americans Every. Single. Year. than those incidents combined.

        In my books, apart from a few negro-lovers, Jews are ok. The real threats lie elsewhere.

        • josh

          The jews wrote the 1965 Civil Rights Act & The 1965 Immigration Act;they cut off imm. from OUR people and drowned us in 3rd world trash. And btw when have you ever seen the jews in any way defend US??You’re bit of a simpleton;jews rae part of the problems!!

  • OlderWoman

    Wow! A black guy who admits his faults and doesn’t blame whites. What on earth is this world coming to?

  • StillModerated

    Is this bloke any relation to Teresa Spence?

    • George

      Teresa is an Indian. Chris is a negro. So, no. No relation.

  • jim

    Following in the footsteps of his beloved Dr. Martin Luther King!

  • jim

    I wonder what ELSE the former football player was up to? We dont want any embarrassing disclosures,do we,things of a personal,you might even say,intimate,nature;certain abuses that may have occured,or unseemly-seeming conduct? So lets take this unfortunate plagiarism occurence and call it a day shall we?

  • George

    The long story short is that for any group equal by numbers:

    Fewer blacks will complete high school than will whites.

    Fewer blacks than whites will go on to a four-year college or university.

    Fewer blacks than whites will complete their degree at said college or university.

    Fewer blacks than whites will then go on to a master’s or professional first degree (JD, MBA, DDS, MD, MDiv, DVM, etc).

    Fewer blacks than whites will subsequently complete doctoral studies.

    And, of those that *do* succeed at any given benchmark, the odds are good the black students will have a higher proportion placed on academic probation, commit plagiarism or require significant additional ‘student services’ in order to meet the goal.

    Despite decades of additional effort and monies spent, blacks have failed to narrow the achievement gap. Their high school graduation rates are only just approaching the white graduation rates of the early 1970s.

    The average black high school senior functions at the same academic level as a 13-year-old white eighth grader.

    The issue isn’t a matter of ‘underfunding’; most school boards spend thousands more per coloured student as compared to white learners. The issue isn’t a matter of discrimination; boards have bent over backwards to accomodate black ‘learners’ at every step.

    The issue can be seen quite clearly on the two graphs on pg. 279 of The Bell Curve.

    The fact is, a black person of average black intelligence has a lower IQ than 5/6ths of whites. They are simply incapable of functioning with the same cognitive abilities as other Americans.

    Sorry, I guess this wasn’t a long story short, after all.