Planet Aid is a large used clothing enterprise claiming to ‘support international development’ by collecting old clothes discarded by American families and, among other things, promoting children’s ‘education’. It is also one of the many enterprises covertly run by the cultish Tvind Teachers Group and ultimately by its fugitive leader Mogens Amdi Petersen, wanted by Interpol.
Planet Aid persuades schools throughout the U.S. to host a used clothing collection bin, in return for a payment. It says this benefits schools and helps educate children; no doubt it also helps burnish the company’s image and increase its reach, all for a very modest outlay.
But Planet Aid’s image is already seriously tarnished: it promotes an educational ‘system’ of doubtful value while enriching itself through an offshore network. Now we have discovered that Planet Aid’s blogs in the educational sphere are downright dishonest too: it’s plagiarising other people’s work and presenting it as its own.
The web portal edublogs.org is a service ‘trusted by over 2 million educators since 2005’, and describes itself as ‘the world’s most popular educational blogging service’. Planetaid.edublogs.org is Planet Aid’s contribution to that site, aimed at teachers everywhere. But our investigator in the USA found that every one of the postings she viewed on Planet Aid’s page has been copied from somebody else’s blog — without attribution. Planet Aid has presented itself as innovative and inspirational; in fact, it’s employing one of the very tricks educationists revile.
Here’s what our U.S. investigator writes:
There’s an old saying: “the truth hurts.” Let the pain begin.
I’d like to address this op-ed directly to teachers and school administrators who have allowed clothing collection bins onto school properties. Yeah sure, I know you’re getting easy money for your school … and God knows you need it … but at what price? What lessons are the kiddies learning? Turns out, some of those “lessons” aren’t what you had planned on.
Today’s lesson is courtesy of Planet Aid Inc:
Plagiarism 101 (Nobody cares about some dumb old articles. You’re getting paid. So it’s OK.)
For a few years now Planet Aid has been part of Edublogs.org, which states that it’s “Trusted by over 2 million educators since 2005.” Maybe so, but not because of Planet Aid. Many of Planet Aid’s posts aren’t even original — just copies of older news articles with a few words changed. Copying an older article and shoving “Planet Aid” in it somewhere, does not constitute an original work; it’s plagiarism, and nothing more.
Last week I was doing some research when I came across Planetaid.edublogs.org. The older post that I was led to had nothing to do with recycling or eco-issues of any kind. Further research revealed that this was just an article copied and re-posted with no reference to the original article or author. Bad. Very bad. I looked at a few more posts. Same thing. In fact, for the months October 2012 to December 2012, every post that I looked into was plagiarized. I stopped looking after nine; who knows how many there are? The website www.looktothestars.org was the original source of most, some dating as far back as 2007.
Teachers, school administrators, PTA members, and all of you who lobbied that Planet Aid was so wonderful, here’s your homework for the day: I ask you to read Planet Aid’s blog (planetaid.edublogs.org) for yourself. Go on. You’ll enjoy the post from 10/31/12 on Angelina and Brad Pitt’s trip to Bosnia. Other than the confusing typo of “Julia Roberts” in the first line, this post is verbatim to one appearing in www.unrefugees.org from April 2010. The post dated 11/28/2012 of Adam Croasdell’s work with World Vision was also quite enjoyable, but I liked the picture on the original looktothestars.org article from 11/25/2009.
Take your time. Do it right. Read until you bleed. Because you certainly didn’t take the time to research Planet Aid before you shoved their ways onto the children at your schools. Oh sure, they gave you some literature, they handed you a glossy brochure, promised kids that they were “saving the planet.” Words. Lots of words. And now we find a habit of copying “words” from someone else.
Do you still trust their words? What about the free curriculum Planet Aid provided? Have you bothered to verify that? Or do you chose to look the other way because you get easy money for hosting a bin? Yeah…I guessed as much. So the lesson the children really learn has nothing to do with the benefits of recycling. What this lesson teaches is just plain wrong:
“Plagiarism is OK because nobody cares about it and we’re getting money for the school.”
Wonderful. Just wonderful. Oh, and one more thing: go ahead and send all the hate mail you want. But remember this: I have documents, and lots of them. All you have is the word of an organization that has no problem copying the works of others to bolster themselves.
Edublogs.org says it will remove blogs that plagiarize or contravene copyright. The Planet Aid page may not be there for long. Kindly share this story, and your comments here are welcome.