Friday, June 10, 2011

On Coach, Trent, Eric, Pete and Rupert

It's a wrap-up at the end of a crazy week. Just think -- at noon Wednesday, it looked like the announcement that Trent Merchant wouldn't seek re-election was going to be the week's big talker.

Politics and personalities aside, the departure of Merchant and Coach Joe White from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board will be a tragedy of epic proportions for local reporters. Let's face it, the former actor and the retired coach are quote factories. Both have strong views and delight in using plain, vigorous language. Sometimes they come up with the perfect metaphor to capture the essence of complex issues (if it's from Coach, you know that metaphor will involve sports). Sometimes they leave listeners with jaws dropped and heads shaking. Either way, they make covering education more fun.

Board Chair Eric Davis is a good bit more buttoned down. So I was delighted to hear him pull off a good one-liner when several of us talked about Superintendent Peter Gorman's departure on Charlotte Talks on Thursday:  "We burn out good superintendents faster than we can burn a song on a CD."

And speaking of burnout, the superintendent who launched weekly media briefings and was widely lauded for his skill with the media left a lot of questions hanging with his abrupt resignation Wednesday, followed by departure for a pre-scheduled vacation. But spokeswoman LaTarzja Henry said today he left one very clear instruction: He will do no more interviews before his mid-August departure.

Finally, when it comes to lively speech, it's hard to beat Gorman's new boss, Rupert Murdoch. If you've got a little weekend time to kill, it's worth reading Murdoch's recent speech to G-8 leaders explaining his vision for the new education division that Gorman will help him launch. It's long but fascinating, and gives the clearest idea I've gotten yet of what enticed Gorman to make the leap (besides money, which I assume is pretty darn good).


Wiley Coyote said...

When confronted with the fact that 60% or 44,000 of CMS student may not qualify for the school lunch program, Coach Joe White said this:

"Just feed the kids"...

That statement pretty much sums up his - and others - entire philosophy regarding education by throwing more and more money at the problems instead of actually fixing them.

We'll have to wait and see who the Status Quo Party annoints as their next candidate(s).

therestofthestory said...

Wiley, have you sent you analysis of the fraud in the FRL program to any of our congress(wo)men?

Wiley Coyote said...


I have tried to contact the USDA on two occasions without success.

They already know what the situation is because they told CMS to stop the audits and like little boys and girls, the BOE went back to sucking their thumbs and said "Yes Sir".

I need to go after Democrat representatives while they are still in office because their head boss, Obama, is all about eliminating waste and fraud from Medicare and Medicai.

So why not the school lunch program?

Anonymous said...

I am a conservative. My father and my grandfather were conservatives, but these individuals who claim to be Republicans do not represent me, my family or my friends. I have taught in CMS for over 12 years. I respect education as well as embrace all forms of intelligences. My father had only an eighth grade education but encouraged me to go as far as I could in school. Pete Gorman’s policies were designed to harm teachers such as myself… teachers with a Master and National Board. Another point, No one I know would even dream of taking food out of a child’s mouth for any reason!. My father fed many a hungry child in my neighborhood. People like Tillis wanting to harm teachers that speak up for their students is just embarrassing! I will not support any Republican that is out to harm others for their own selfish political gain. Thank goodness these individuals who supported Gorman for all the wrong reasons are leaving, but most importantly, thank goodness Pete Gorman is gone.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 3:22,

Thank you for proving my point and playing the "bleeding-heart-throw-money-at-the-problem-at-all-cost" card.

Let me clarify the position me and countless others have regarding the USDA School Lunch Program.

Let me make it very clear up front, that NO child should go hungry period, especially at school. I can't think of anyone who would disagree with that.

The problem is there is data that suggests possibly 60% of the kids receiving the benefit DO NOT QUALIFY for the subsidy.

With over 74,000 CMS students currently getting FRL and the possibility that 44,000 may not qualify, that's a whole lot of dollars that could be redirected to hiring or keeping teachers or possibly increasing your salary.

The other waste that goes along with the FRL program is that once a student has that designation, virtually everything else other than lunches are free; AP/IB test and sports just to name two.

To suggest turning a blind eye to the possibility that millions of dollars are being spent fraudulently is no different than excusing people who don't pay their taxes.

You also might be interested to know:

...if the 60% who possibly don't qualify for FRL are removed from the rolls and the number goes down to 30,000 (74,000-44,000) how close that matches the federal government's poverty census estimates for CMS at 29,514.

I'm posting this again since it seems the original was deleted or went into a spam folder somewhere.

therestofthestory said...

Wiley, I had found one of your posts earlier today and copied it down. I have the necessary references from the Census spreadsheet and from CMS press releases and Charlotte Observer press releases. I was about to create a string of form letters to our US and NC representatives and see if I could draw any responses. I certainly do not want to infringe on your work to create this "notice" so I thought I would check with you first to see if you objected to my sending this out. If you do not wish to post to this board, email me at Thanks.

Wiley Coyote said...


Certainly won't rain on my parade and in fact, the more people who demand accountability, the better.

Like I said earlier, I'm not against the program. What I am against is the potential waste/fraud and the turning of heads by people who don't want to deal with it.

Those are the same people who whine about not having enough funds to keep teachers or sports programs.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Pete has spoken and stated NO MORE INTERVIEWS!!! This is absolutely puzzling seeing that we couldn't shut him up that last five years.

Jim said...

Anonymous 10:48 -- I don't think his position is the least surprising. What he said is this: "I've had to stand up and get whacked by you folks on a daily basis for the past five years in order to do my job but now I'm out of here and you'll get no more whacks at me. See ya!"

Anonymous said...

Therestofthestory wrote he was about to create a string of form letters to our US and NC representatives and see if he could draw any responses pertaining to FRL. They will never give you the truth. They want you to be distracted by students clamoring to get a bisque or a cinnamon roll in the morning for breakfast, and possibly their last meal for the day at lunch time. This way you will not notice them giving their personal employees and themselves huge salary increases paid for with your tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

I am in no way suggesting that children should go hungry either. However, as Wiley continues to maintain, it goes beyond feeding children. Staffing, pupil assignment, and the funding of multiple programs are based on these numbers. Interestingly, this summer, CMS is offering free breakfast and lunch in select schools around the community. No identification or registration is required. The feds will reimburse for these meals. Where is the accountability?

Anonymous said...

Good Riddance to all three

Anonymous said...

For a CMS teacher, having Pete Gorman as a superintendent was like having a boyfriend or husband that…you know kicked you around a little bit, bruised and broke a few bones. At parties he got drunk and would tell everybody how worthless you are. He would take money out of your purse, and leave you enough not even to feed the kids. Yet, he was always bringing around some shiny new car and latest technology. So Charlotte Observer you can stop playing the role of the dysfunctional parent or friend trying to convince teachers…“Oh but he was so good for you”.

Anonymous said...

Since Pete left went on vacation after making his announcement, he will not attend one high school graduation ceremony. Shows you how much he cared about the children of this community. We do not need anyone who has been affected by the Broad virus leading our schools. I hope Ann Clark was using it as a means to obtain a superintendency and the training did not wipe out all she has given to this school system over the years. Her history says she cared about the children and the community. At least she has stayed the course through tough times.