Monday, March 14, 2011

Broad and Gorman advising Raleigh superintendent

Here's an interesting twist in the great sibling rivalry between North Carolina's two largest school districts: Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Peter Gorman will spend the next year acting as "executive coach" to Wake's new leader, Tony Tata.

Both are graduates of the The Broad Superintendents Academy, founded by philanthropist Eli Broad "to transform urban school districts into effective public enterprises."

“The executive coach is much like a teacher mentor,” Tata (pronounced TAY-tah) said in a press release today. “The focus of the relationship is on the mechanics of the role of the superintendent and providing support.”

The mentoring match was announced as part of a communications audit the academy provided as part of its support to Tata in his first year as a superintendent. According to the News & Observer, one of the biggest recommendations is for Tata to try to end public feuding among school board members.

“The superintendent and the leadership of the board should work with board members to make a concerted effort to tone down inflammatory rhetoric at the board meetings and, when disagreements do arise, to deal with those disagreements in a courteous and professional way that better communicates to the public the reasons for board member decisions and helps encourage more consideration by the news media of the important positive work the board is doing,” said the audit report.

Gorman didn't get Broad audits when he came to CMS in 2006, but the issue sure sounds familiar. In June, about a week before he officially started work, Gorman toured Philadelphia with a Chamber of Commerce group. I tagged along and quoted him as saying that business leaders were peppering him with complaints about bickering board members.

"If nothing changes, that impacts my efficiency so much that I have to step back and evaluate my superintendency," Gorman told me. (Afterward, he said he'd learned something about being in the kind of high-visibility job where he can land on the front page criticizing his employers.)

Since Tata took the Raleigh job Jan. 31, he's also been part of a Broad-led retreat with the school board to develop a mission, vision and core beliefs statement. The CMS board has done the same at Broad retreats (here's the CMS statement).

It's just one more sign of how much has changed in Wake County since the 2009 election of a board majority with a new vision for student assignment and management of the district. For many of the old guard, CMS was the cautionary example of a "resegregated" school district and all the accompanying woes. Today, it's looking more and more like a crystal ball hinting at Raleigh's future.


Anonymous said...

"For many of the old guard, CMS was the cautionary example of a "resegregated" school district and all the accompanying woes. Today, it's looking more and more like a crystal ball hinting at Raleigh's future."

Sigh, Ann I hope that the crystal ball comment is not an expression of your opinion about CMS. It appears once again that we all need to be reminded that Wake County and CMS under busing were not utopias. Wake's minority students were faring worse than our minorities under Wake's socio economics based busing system. At Enloe High School, supposedly the paragon of diversity (according to some Enloe students who thrive on disrupting school board meetings), minority students in reality mostly populate low level classes, with IB and AP classes mainly populated with upper middle class whites. A report revealed that minority middle schoolers were not being steered towards high level math classes. And a check of last years district report cards (when Wake was still using a busing based assignment plan) shows Wake's African American students scoring at 48.4% on the EOGs, Hispanics at 47.2%, ED kids at 48.9, and whites at 87.4%. In CMS scores were 51.6 for African Americans, 55% for Hispanics, 51.3 for ED kids, and 88.4 for whites. At the high school level on end of course tests Wake African Americans passed at 68.8 percent, Hispanics at 68.6 percent, ED kids at 73%, and whites at 94.3. In CMS African American high schoolers passed at 76.9%, Hispanics at 80%, ED kids at 77%, and whites at 94.3%.
A school board with the intent to change the Wake system was legitimately and resoundingly elected in 2009. But the old guard in Raleigh, including the media, have waged a relentless war on the new board. They have been joined by a small group from Charlotte that has been promoting the idea in Raleigh that CMS's problems all stem from the demise of busing (see, which is from a link found on Parents Across America website. See also ( Note that in neither of these pieces is student achievement mentioned.

On reflection, Raleigh might want to strive to be more like CMS, if academic achievement is supposed to be the goal of public education. Apparently some, both here and in Wake, have forgotten that this is what it's all about.

Ann Doss Helms said...

I was not trying to pick a side in this issue. I'm merely stating factually that the folks who were in charge for a long time had big qualms with the CMS model. Now they are not in charge, and there's a different view of CMS from the folks who are.

Also based on facts, I agree that there was never a CMS utopia when achievement gaps were nonexistent and all schools were successful. Regardless of what one believes about the value of diversity -- and I'm not taking a side there, either -- it is clearly not the answer to all the challenges of public education.

I am intrigued by the changes going on in Raleigh. That doesn't mean I'm casting it as a tragedy or a success story.

Anonymous said...

Wow - if that's not a case of the blind leading the blind.

Anonymous said...

It sure is!

Wiley Coyote said...

I'm all for running school systems like a business...

The problem is, Broad doads like Gorman has no business acumen.

Just another educrat with a prefix and suffix on each end of his name.

Wiley Coyote said...


Anonymous said...


I well remember Dr. Gorman’s statement about taking a step back if the board didn’t get settled. While he may have said something about it be a learning experience, I look at it as the one sentence that made his first year a success.

His number one achievement in 2006 was taking the school board off the front page. This town needed that. What he did then he continues to do today.

During this current board’s first year it sat with glazed eyes as the superintendent and the CFO showed them (that’s the polite way of saying it) what was necessary to bring-in a balanced but lower budget.

As a result of five years of the board being guided, the changes people like and dislike are associated with the superintendent. I can think of only one significant action attributable to the board and that is the guiding principles and the chair’s attempt to engage the community last year.

If the Wake board is weary and if the new Wake super is driven, then Pete101 may work in Raleigh. . . . but what is likely to happen is the superintendent will get better and that will bother the Wake board. It will not be CMS-like!

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Wiley and Bolyn,
Do you find it slightly ironic that Wake goes all out and picks a military officer with no educational experience (other than Fox news commentary) and then has to bring in a tutor for Tata? I'm all for using the military experience but this would only be allowed in the administrative ranks. A teacher would have never had that luxury. Truly the Broad Kool-aid Tsunami finds the inept leading the unaware.

Anonymous said...

Reply to 7:01pm

You're way off base. Retired West Point generals, as well as the other academy grads, are premium candidates to run any enterprise, especially those in trouble.

In CMS' case I know of two academy grads: Chair Eric Davis(West Point) and Guy Chamberlain(Naval). There may be others I don't know of.

My experience with both men tell me to expect only the best. I believe that will happen in Raleigh.

Bolyn McClung

therestofthestory said...

Thanks Bolyn for the information about Eric. I have been puzzled about his direction strategy. I guess I had hoped he would have been moving toward an objective and efficient operation of CMS schools. Including a deep look at all programs and shutting down those not delivering promised results, not delivering comparable results to money input, creating more transparency in this administration, allowing/encouraging professional debate on the issues, etc. you get the idea. I went to one of the forums at Hopewell HS and was disappointed to see how directed/ manipulated and limited scope discussion was allowed.

I guess bottom line is I had hoped this BOE would have lived up to some of its promotion but now I guess we will have to work through Raleigh to force how money is spent/not spent and districts to be setup fairly.

I hope to hear from Larry soon about how this afternoon's meeting went.

blpadge2 said...

Thing to remember about the Wake School Board, is that it was bought and paid for by Art Pope's anti-public education establishment, just like our current Republican legislature who had proposed such outrageousness as SB8 and HB41 to destroy public education.

Gorman's talking points such as Master's degrees do not impact student achievement and TFA's are more successful than their peers are already making the rounds in Raleigh budget talks. If he is coaching the Wake BoE, I can only guarantee they will gain more traction in the legislature.

therestofthestory said...

9:33 PM Well I appreciate your attempt to take issue with the change in ppowers now in NC but do not expect me to feel bad becuase the demos have done this for years. They have used teachers as they have used blacks to keep getting voted in by fear mongering, etc.

ANyway, there is not much love lost for what the libs have dome to public education in this country. We are the laughing stock of the world for being only a glimmer of the superpower we used to be. We are laughed at because we perfer to spend gobs and gobs of money for very little results and then nearly strangle and castigate those families and students that have the most potential to restore our glory.

Sorry, I feel no empathy for your side.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Rest of the Story.

Anonymous said...

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT IN RALEIGH ....but thought I'd throw it in any way.

Here's just one of the explanations of a part of the Value Added formula. It is from the Rand Corp. report.

.....To understand this, consider the model for a student’s grade 2
and grade 3 scores. From Equation 4.5 they are given by:
y2 = m2 + T2 + a21T1 + e2 (4.6)
y3 = m3 + T3 + a32T2 + a31T1 + e3 . (4.7)
By subtracting Eq. 4.6 from Eq. 4.7, we obtain the following
equation for the gain score:
y3 − y2 =(m3 − m2 )+T3 + (a32 −1)T2 +(a31 − a21)T1 + e3 − e2 .
Thus, gains from grade 2 to grade 3 depend on the second grade
teacher through the term (a32 −1)T2 and the first grade teacher
through the term ( a31 − a21)T1. With the persistence model of
McCaffrey et al. (2003), teacher effects from grades 1 and 2 affect
both level scores at grade 3 and gains from grade 2 to grade 3. In particular,
when a 32 <1, if T 2 is positive then the second grade teacher
has a negative contribution on gains—and vice versa if T2 is negative....

It goes on of course.

I hope this is the clear explanation some have been requesting.

Bolyn McClung