In an article in The Carolinian out today, Michaels notes that Tata "has had several very public nasty fights with" the school board's new Democratic majority. The liberal Michaels also calls Tata "a conservative Tea Party sympathizer who sources say has US senatorial aspirations in a few years."
"With his heart really not into establishing a base school model with aspects of choice, and elements of stability, proximity, student achievement and diversity, will Tata drag his feet in meeting the 2013-14 school year deadline, or will the retired US Army brigadier general be the “good soldier,” and follow the directive?" Michaels writes.
Michaels interviews several people who support the move back to an address-based plan with a diversity component.
"I’ve talked with Supt. Tata a little bit about this,” said school board chairman Kevin Hill in the article. ”I think he’s a professional. My expectation, as chairman…is as superintendent, you take our direction from the Board of Education, and whatever direction the Board of Education points Wake County in, I need you to enthusiastically and wholeheartedly work to make that happen, and he understands that, that’s his intention.”
Hill apparently leaves open the possibility that Tata will leave if he's not comfortable with the change in direction on student assignment, such as what happened when Del Burns resigned as superintendent in 2010.
“I’m going to take him at his word, and look to partner with him, again with the caveat that somewhere along the line, every superintendent has to make a decision if they’re comfortable with what the board is directing them to do or not,” Hill said in the article.
“I compare superintendents to major league baseball managers — they kind of come and go,” Hill also said in the article. “I respect Tony, I respect the service that he has given to our country, I like him an individual, and want to take him at his word that he will work in the best interests of the children of Wake County.”
Michaels also interviews Calla Wright, president of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children; and Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition.
“It would be my thought that he understands that [in] the governance process that the board dictates what [is done]… and as an employee of the Wake County Public Schools, I’m sure he understands…the protocol of what that demand means,” Wright says in the article.
Brannon takes a shot at Tata in the article.
"He seems to be more interested in following his own beliefs, his own interests," Brannon says in the article. "His personal will seems to be stronger than listening to the board’s will. So I’m not so sure that he’s good at following direction and following orders. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know him personally.”
But Brannon added, “I would say, I hope so. I hope that he has taken an oath as superintendent that serves the best interests of the Board of Education…and I hope he will do what he can to make [WCPSS] successful.”