Wake County Schools

Tata meets with Raleigh business leaders

Posted January 14, 2011
Updated January 17, 2011

— The incoming superintendent of the state’s largest school district met Friday afternoon with Raleigh business leaders, pledging to do the best he can for the students, teachers and parents of Wake County.

“I know how important the school system is to every person in this room,” Tony Tata told a crowd of city, county and business leaders at a reception hosted by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. “It is so important to every facet of life. Where you’re going to buy a house – is it near a good school? Can we attract businesses because of the school district? I get all that.”

Tata said the community needs to come together to do what’s best for students at a time in which the school system faces big issues, including a $100 million budget deficit, a controversial student assignment policy and whether to continue accreditation with a national firm in Atlanta.

“There are school children with hopes and dreams, and my goal is to help every child in Wake County achieve those dreams,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on in this community right now. What I ask of everybody is, let’s try to pull this thing together … We’ve got a lot of hard work to do as a community, and we need to sometimes hang our egos at the door.”

Tata hasn’t really spoken out about his views on the student assignment policy, which ends a 10-year practice of busing students for diversity reasons in exchange for placing students in schools closer to their homes.

Instead, he has said, his focus as superintendent will be on improving students’ academic performance and helping them prepare to be competitive in a global community.

Tata remarks to Raleigh business leaders Tata remarks to Raleigh business leaders

“Data will drive decision making. If kids are learning, then we’ll keep doing whatever it is making them learn. If they’re not, then we’ll fix that,” he said. “There is no space in my heart that is going to ignore any child of any race.”

Currently the chief operating officer for District of Columbia Schools, Tata will take over as Wake County school superintendent on Jan. 31.

Friday’s visit is the second in a series of visits planned before then.

Last week, he was in Raleigh meeting with school administrators and educators, as well as community leaders concerned about the school board’s controversial changes to the district’s student assignment plan.

The school board hired Tata, a retired Army general, last month following a lengthy search for a replacement for former Superintendent Del Burns, who retired last year.

Tata on Friday called the move from a 28-year career in the military to education a “natural transition.”


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  • the people Jan 17, 2011

    Are these boards just set up for PR firms advancement???? Business : are they paying to get there bottom line enhanced ??? By asking for special treatment by the unexperienced TaTa????? Seems he is lost already??? Survey :When will that be sent out for in-put???

  • the people Jan 17, 2011

    Change thingy!!! Seems we are on that path!!! To where???? Define change before we assume too!!! Much!!!! So,far parents still are getting little time to tell how they and their kids are treated in system,when will this occur ,oh;King???? Can the Peasants please ask?????? Or are all the the Kings still not able to be questioned by just the parents!!!???? Some won't call you back at all!!!!

  • LovemyPirates Jan 14, 2011

    Not_So_Dumb - People don't want the truth or facts. These just confuse their emotions.

  • Not_So_Dumb Jan 14, 2011

    Look at the corporate interest who gave big money to keep the supporters of the diversity program in power. Public records show who they are. You will accept it more if you find it yourself.

    What did those people get from the program? Simple, the ability to say "there are no bad schools in Wake County." Perfect PR for companies. Who cares if the achievement gap gets wider every year as long as no one notice? Certainly not the companies in this area. Low taxes help bring in workers and allow them to pay those people less.

    People think the diversity program was some big liberal experiment. It wasn't. The liberals were played the fool by the corporate power players.

  • independentvoter3 Jan 14, 2011

    Not So Dumb... If you know... just say it.

  • Not_So_Dumb Jan 14, 2011

    beneast - follow the money, it is quite clear who had a HUGE influence in crafting the diversity boondoggle. Who pumped in half a million dollars in advertising to get the last bond passed?

  • btneast Jan 14, 2011

    Are_So_Dumb....no, the voters of Wake Co put us on this course...

  • Not_So_Dumb Jan 14, 2011

    Booo! Booo! Listening to the business interests and their mouthpiece organization the Wake Ed Partnership is what got us into this mess. Companies want good PR, not good education.