This email from Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, offers a perspective of what critics of Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata and the Republican school board members say behind the scenes.
In the Aug. 18 email message, Brannon says Tata is taunting and bullying people when he says they need to "cowboy up" to pass a school bond issue next year. She says many people don't approve of Tata's work and feel that he's helped resegregate the schools.
"Many, many people in the minority community, the economic developers in the business community, the progressive and social justice community members, the advocates for the disabled and underrepresented children, advocates for our teachers and staff, and those who regard public education as a right for all children together add to a large group that does not trust Mr. Tata," Brannon writes.
Brannon also take aim at the Republican members for their "shenanigans" when they were in the majority.
Now that the GOP members are in the minority, she writes they "continue to sabotage efforts by the new board majority to use educationally sound, common sense based and fiscally reasonable strategies to make decisions about student assignment, student achievement and the need to carefully plan rebuilding, retooling and expanding our school programs and facilities."
Here's the text of Brannon's email message:
I was so disappointed --flabbergasted actually--to see Tata speaking on tv and in print telling Wake County taxpayers to COWBOY Up...is this the same taunt as "grow up? man up? put on big boy/girl pants?" http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/08/18/2275900/tata-wake-voters-will-need-to.html
Is this really the language--the respectful tone--one should be using to motivate our community to pay more taxes for our schools? This is the man with a HALF million dollar (and more) media staff at his fingertips...the man who uses our tax dollars to promote his agenda to the point of overkill/oversell and this is the most salient message he can come up with...this is what he uses to encourage "us" to build more schools? to pay more taxes?
Just think for a moment what the community has been through since December 2009. Think about the shenanigans the previous board majority pulled over and over again -- all for a politically driven agenda tied to their own political aspirations and views. And these now minority board members continue to sabotage efforts by the new board majority to use educationally sound, common sense based and fiscally reasonable strategies to make decisions about student assignment, student achievement and the need to carefully plan rebuilding, retooling and expanding our school programs and facilities. And yes, they are intent on serving all children, not segregating our schools, having base assignments to put sanity back in knowing where a child goes to school, listening to teachers and being fiscally responsible.
Regardless of what Harvey ("the" chamber?), WEP (their subsidized sub department) and the Republican minority think...here is the REAL truth...The larger community of observers, the voters, the taxpayers with no children, the thousands and thousands or parents, grandparents, teachers and students do no approve of the work done by Tata and his previous board--at minimum, they are distrustful at this point. Indeed, many feel he has helped segregate our schools while ignoring the impacts of his Choice plan on poor and underachieving students; many believe he has ignored minorities (especially Latinos) and disregarded the disabled (think of the pending lawsuits/complains filed around these issues) and quite frankly many are angry about how he has ignored the upending of the housing market for all taxpayers. Many are baffled that he continues to defend the Choice plan no matter how it has harmed the educational opportunities of children and yes this does impact homeowners/property owners who we cannot ignore..they are the ones who pay property taxes used to build our schools and supplement our school budgets!
Many, many people in the minority community, the economic developers in the business community, the progressive and social justice community members, the advocates for the disabled and underrepresented children, advocates for our teachers and staff, and those who regard public education as a right for all children together add to a large group that does not trust Mr. Tata. Throw into the mix the anti tax crowd represented by Russell Capps...(would love to see his face when Tata said COWBOY up and pay more taxes!) and you do not have a majority of citizens anxious to run out and support Mr. Tata in COW BOYING up.
He is the worse face to put on the need to pay more taxes and build more schools in high growth areas while you are ignoring our magnets, older schools, poor and under performing schools, and segregating more schools with each assignment at "central" office. All the public sees NOW is newcomers sitting for hours to get NO choice in where their child goes to school...picking a home to buy or rent does not even allow parents to be involved in the "choice" anymore, don't try to sell these folks on more taxes in this climate.
The new board majority is on the right path. They are fixing the student assignment plan (underway) to keep it from destroying our school system's ability to serve all children and see all children succeed. They will not create have and have not schools. They are working to restore public trust and respect. They are working to develop a way to improve/expand our magnet program and to develop a sensible plan for expanding seat capacity. So, please -- no more COWBOY up comments to this community that has paid a huge emotional price since Dec. 2009. Instead, invite the public, show the public the new path, a new commitment to excellence, equity, fairness and professionalism.....show us the GOALS of this school system and motivate us to join you in funding the needs...show us why...but don't taunt us.
This community is ready to get back on track and regain our national reputation, we have a board majority we are willing to support but we do not want to be bullied. Mr. Tata should consider letting the board take it from here. Yevonne
To make it clearer, the email was not forwarded to me by Brannon. I obtained a copy of the email from another person and posted it, as I mentioned in the post, as an example of the things that are said privately about Tata and the board members.