Analysis finds sections of Carter application nearly identical to others' published writings

New London - At least 10 paragraphs in the two-page essay Terrence P. Carter submitted with his application for the city's superintendent of schools job contain material apparently copied from other sources without attribution, including academic journals, news articles and websites.

In some cases, entire paragraphs of Carter's March application are exactly the same as writings that previously appeared in other publications.

In Carter's application, which The Day obtained through the state Department of Education, he wrote about a policy he claimed to have implemented at his previous job in Chicago, under which the school requests monetary donations from parents when a student misses school for family vacations and other absences.

"During the 2012-2013 school year, our network received $20,217 in donations. The money goes into the general fund. Because these elective absence penalties or donations are working, this may become a more widespread tool for our schools to increase revenues," Carter wrote in his application.

The passage, with a few slight differences, appears in an article about a California school district published Aug. 30, 2010 on Investopedia, a website focused on personal finance.

"During the 2008-2009 school year, this district received $20,217 in donations. The money goes into the district's general fund. Because these elective absence penalties or donations are working, this may become a more widespread tool for schools to increase revenues," Investopedia contributor Jean Folger wrote in 2010.

Carter's application also contains other lines that originally appeared in that same Investopedia article.

Two entire paragraphs of Carter's application, in which he advocates for delaying the start of the school day for middle school students, match paragraphs from an article on the American Psychological Association website that has been available since at least January 2010.

Carter also apparently used material from a 2012 research paper written by a professor and a post-doctoral research associate at the College of William and Mary that was used as the basis of the Virginia Department of Education's superintendent performance standards.

The section of Carter's application in which he boasts of "exceptional" communication skills is largely the same as parts of the foreword of the 2008 book "Why School Communication Matters: Strategies From PR Professionals."

"As a leader for more than 15 years, I have learned that there are many ingredients for success but one stands out above the rest my great communication skills. You can have the most innovative change/reform plan around, but if you are not effective in communicating about that plan, it will fail," Carter wrote in his application.

The wording is almost identical to what Jerry D. Weast, then superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, wrote in the book's foreword.

"As a superintendent for thirty-two years, I have learned that there are many ingredients for success but one stands out above the rest - great communication skills. You can have the most innovative reform plan around, but if you are not effective in communicating about that plan, it will fail," Weast wrote.

Carter's essay also contains material similar to writings from an education reform journal published by the Hoover Institution, the National Academy Foundation website and a report published by an educational consulting firm.

When reached by email Monday, Carter said he and his attorney, Bill McCoy, "would love to speak with" a Day reporter about the similarities between his application and other works, and referred questions to McCoy.

McCoy did not return multiple phone calls seeking comment Monday.

But last week McCoy said Carter "stands by the application he made before this board. ... He is standing by what he provided this board as being factual and correct on his application."

Carter's application also includes his résumé, in which he claims to hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University with a major in Africana studies and minor concentrations in elementary education and social work. The university verified Monday that Carter received a degree in Afro-American studies.

But an employee in the Rutgers registrar's office said the university has no record of Carter being credited with any minor concentration.

Carter, whom the Board of Education unanimously appointed on June 12, has been under fire since news reports indicated that he had misrepresented himself - or allowed others to misrepresent him - as having a Ph.D. for more than five years before he completed his doctorate. In addition, Carter has twice filed for bankruptcy in the last 15 years.

The state Department of Education last week asked Carter to withdraw himself from consideration for the New London superintendent's job.

Carter has declined to withdraw and, as he arrived to meet with the school board in closed session Thursday, said, "I stand by my résumé. I have done nothing wrong."

After that closed session, the Board of Education voted unanimously to launch an independent investigation into Carter's academic record and financial background, and to defer any action on a contract until the inquiry is complete. That probe is expected to take about 30 days.

c.young@theday.com


Terrence P. Carter's applicationExisting source reference

"My coalitions, collaborations, and motivation with these various groups have determined the efficacy of the academic outcomes and initiatives set forth under my leadership. To do this, I build trust, focus attention to process, and employ political savvy to ensure buy-in. I also consider it important to discern community values and expectations; and, establish early-on and consistently nurture my relationships with key stakeholders. I do this by involving key constituents in the goal setting process, share and publicize relevant school data, mobilize parents and community members, build local- and/or state-level coalitions, and communicate timely and relevant information to personnel."

Coalitions, collaborations, and motivation determine the efficacy of outcomes and initiatives-so the district leader must build trust, focus attention to process, and employ political savvy to ensure buy-in (Goens, 2009; Phillips & Phillips, 2007). The superintendent also needs to discern community values and expectations; they must establish early-on and consistently nurture relationships with key stakeholders (AASA, 2009; Banks et al, 2007). To do so, the effective district leader involves key constituents in the goal setting process, shares and publicizes relevant school data, mobilizes parents and community members, builds local- or state-level coalitions, and communicates timely and relevant information to personnel (AASA, 2006; Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2006).
ECRA Group, "Effective Superintendents" literature review

As a leader for more than 15 years, I have learned that there are many ingredients for success but one stands out above the rest my great communication skills. You can have the most innovative change/reform plan around, but if you are not effective in communicating about that plan, it will fail. My communication skills are exceptional. Communication is a priority of mine, and I don't approach it as an add-on or afterthought. The old adage that "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" rings true for me in every aspect of my current position. When I do it well, my communication skills make me more effective and my stakeholders more satisfied.

"As a superintendent for thirty-two years, I have learned that there are many ingredients for success but one stands out above the rest - great communication skills. You can have the most innovative reform plan around, but if you are not effective in communicating about that plan, it will fail."
Foreward written by Jerry D. Weast, then superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, to "Why School Communication Matters: Strategies From PR Professionals"

Excellent communications starts with relationships - strong, trusting relationships. I create and nurture these relationships with my key stakeholder groups, both intemal and external; because these relationships are truly the lifeblood for building the support that I have so often needed in creating the educational reforms or making changes that otherwise might cause significant upset. Doing the right thing for students isn't always the popular thing, and I know this better than a lot of educators given the significant changes that I have had to execute here in the City of Chicago (e.g., union unrest, school closings, turnaround oflow performing schools, layoffs, budgetary woes, etc.). My having these healthy relationships built on trust has lessened the negative impact of those decisions that initially made some of my stakeholders unhappy. A cache of good will makes it possible to create buy in on difficult decisions and assuage those who might otherwise start a way of protest.

"Like so many other things in life, excellent communications starts with relationships - strong, trusting relationships. You must create and nurture these relationships with your key stakeholder groups, both internal and external. Such relationships are truly the lifeblood for building support for educational reforms or making changes that otherwise might cause significant upset. Doing the right ting for students isn't always the popular thing, and administrators know this better than anyone. Having healthy relationships built on trust can lessen the negative impact of those decisions that may make some of your stakeholders unhappy. A cache of good will makes it possible to create buy in on difficult decisions and assuage those who might otherwise start a way of protest."
Foreward written by Jerry D. Weast, then superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, to "Why School Communication Matters: Strategies From PR Professionals"

"It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes money to educate one. While each school district faces unique challenges, all struggle with budgeting and finding the money that is necessary to providing high-quality education and a positive work envirorunent for the dedicated teachers and staff."

"It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes money to educate one." "While each school district faces unique challenges, all struggle with budgeting and finding the money that is necessary to providing high-quality education and a positive work environment for the dedicated teachers and staff."
"Public Schools Get Creative With Their Budgets" by Jean Folger, Investopedia, Aug. 30, 2010

"The first was to requests donations from parents when children miss school for absences such as family vacations. During the 2012-2013 school year, our network received $20,217 in donations. The money goes into the general fund. Because these elective absence penalties or donations are working, this may become a more widespread tool for our schools to increase revenues."

"Another California school district requests donations from parents when children miss school for absences such as family vacations. During the 2008-2009 school year, this district received $20,217 in donations. The money goes into the district's general fund. Because these elective absence penalties or donations are working, this may become a more widespread tool for schools to increase revenues."
"Public Schools Get Creative With Their Budgets" by Jean Folger, Investopedia, Aug. 30, 2010

"The second approach or initiative, and the one that I am most proud of to date, is when financial difficulties really hit our district in 2011, I approached my executive director and our board about planning for the possibility of reduced budgets. In 2011, we hired a new part-time position to direct the Office of Advancement, which I developed and supervise. This office's mission is to:

  • Enhance the network's goal of financial independence;
  • Expand revenues to minimize the adverse effect of current fluctuating funding from local, state and federal sources for our schools;
  • Create new funding sources including an annual fund drive;
  • Establish effective coordination of volunteer groups and their efforts;
  • Expand efforts to seek competitive government grants as well as foundation support;
  • Increase public affairs activities;
  • Increase viable partnerships;
  • Foster a culture of philanthropy within/toward the network.

To date, the office has raised nearly $2.5M in additional funding for my schools."

"He said when financial difficulties hit the public sector, the school district began planning for the possibility of reduced budgets. In 2011, it hired Liz Hall for a new part-time position to direct the Office of Advancement. Its mission as described by Dewey & Kaye, the executive search firm contracted to fill the position, was as follows:

  • Enhance the district's goal of financial independence;
  • Expand revenues to minimize the adverse effect of current fluctuating funding from local, state and federal sources;
  • Create new funding sources including an annual fund drive;
  • Establish effective coordination of volunteer groups and their efforts;
  • Expand efforts to seek competitive government grants as well as foundation support;
  • Increase public affairs activities;
  • Increase viable partnerships;
  • Foster a culture of philanthropy within/toward the district.

To date, Hall has raised nearly $400,000."
School districts getting more creative as budgets continue to tighten," by Justine Coyne, Pittsburgh Business Times, April 5, 2013

"The switch from elementary to middle school coincides with several major changes for young adolescents. Most are in the throes of puberty; they're becoming more self-aware and self-conscious, and their thinking is growing more critical and more complex. At the same time, adolescents are often "in a slump" when it comes to academic motivation and performance often referred to as the Middle School Malaise."

"The switch from elementary to junior high school coincides with several major changes for young adolescents. Most are in the throes of puberty; they're becoming more self-aware and self-conscious, and their thinking is growing more critical and more complex. At the same time, adolescents are often "in a slump" when it comes to academic motivation and performance."
American Psychological Association

"I find that there is a "developmental mismatch" between the environment and philosophy of middle schools and the children they attempt to teach. At a time when children's cognitive abilities are increasing, middle school offers children fewer opportunities for decision-making and lower levels of cognitive involvement, but a more complex social environment. At the same time, numerous teachers due to departmentalization of faculty have replaced the single self-contained classroom teacher and students often face larger classes and a new group of peers."

"Through this and other similar research, psychologists have discovered a "developmental mismatch" between the environment and philosophy of middle schools and the children they attempt to teach. At a time when children's cognitive abilities are increasing, middle school offers them fewer opportunities for decision-making and lower levels of cognitive involvement, but a more complex social environment. At the same time, numerous teachers have replaced the single classroom teacher and students often face larger classes and a new group of peers."
American Psychological Association

"Our findings are consistent with the theory that hormonal changes in adolescence (typically beginning at 13 or 14) make it difficult for students to get enough sleep when school starts early,leading to sleep deficiencies that many studies have found to be associated with a decrease in cognitive performance."

"The study's finding that the start-time effects are pronounced beginning at age 13 is consistent with the theory that hormonal changes in adolescence (typically beginning at 13 or 14) make it difficult for students to get enough sleep when school starts early, leading to sleep deficiencies that many studies have found to be associated with a decrease in cognitive performance."
"School Start Times Found to Affect Student Achievement," by Finley Edwards, Education Next, May 3, 2012

"I would like to create a high school, along with the financial and curriculum design assistance ofa high-tech corporate sponsor, where children receive a hardcore focus on STEAM skills (that's science, technology, engineering, architectural design and math). They take six years to graduate instead of the traditional four; the extra two years means they walk away with an associate's degree on top of their high school diploma. Additionally, they will bave a $40,000+ job waiting for them by graduation with the contributing corporate sponsor."

"They receive a hardcore focus on STEM skills (that's science, technology, engineering and math). And they take six years to graduate instead of the traditional four; the extra two years means they walk away with an associate's degree on top of their high school diploma. There's one more thing they take with them: a job. Every student at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy graduates with a promise of a $40,000-plus opportunity at IBM, the school's corporate partner and a key developer of the curriculum."
"The School That Will Get You a Job," by Rana Foroohar, TIME Magazine, Feb. 13, 2014

"I also consider it important to discern community values and expectations; and, establish early-on and consistently nurture my relationships with key stakeholders. I do this by involving key constituents in the goal setting process, share and publicize relevant school data, mobilize parents and community members, build local- and/or state-level coalitions, and communicate timely and relevant information to personnel."

"The superintendents should have a deep understanding of the community values and expectations. In order to nurture relationships with key stakeholders, effective superintendents involve constituents in the goal setting process, share and publicize relevant school data, mobilize parents and community members, build local- or state-level coalitions, and communicate timely and relevant information to personnel."
Research Synthesis of Virginia Superintendent Evaluation Competencies and Standards, by James H. Stronge and Xianxuan Xu at the College of William and Mary, 2012

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