New London Board Votes Against Giving Contract To Carter
Isn't it past time for Chicago to investigate who else with a phony resume is in charge of closing schools and dumping teachers? For starters, san you spell Los Angeles?
By Jon Lender and Kathleen Megan email@example.com
NEW LONDON -- The board of education Thursday night voted 6-0 against entering into a contract with Terrence Carter, whom it had previously named the district's new superintendent.
Carter, a highly touted Chicago school administrator, was selected in June. But the board postponed a vote on awarding him an employment contract in late July in the wake of revelations in The Courant that Carter had used "Ph.D." and "Dr." with his name for at least five years despite not having a doctorate from an accredited college.
Additionally, the Day of New London reported that large portions of his New London job application essay were identical to language in articles published on the Internet.
The board voted Thursday after convening in executive session to receive a report from law firm Shipman & Goodwin, its legal counsel, which it ordered July 24 to investigate the media reports. Anthony Shannon, a Shipman & Goodwin lawyer, said Thursday that the investigation corroborated the facts laid out in the media.
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"As a result of this investigation, we have concluded the concerns set forth in the media are grounded in fact and are not mere speculation, hearsay, or unfounded information from Internet searches," the report states.
"Moreover, neither the responses by Mr. Carter nor any documentary or other evidence contradicts the findings concerning Mr. Carter's use (or misuse) of the titles Dr. and/or Ph.D prior to his achieving . . . a doctoral degree from an accredited college or university."
The law firm said it didn't agree with Carter's claim that his use of others' work in his application "is not plagiarism," a contention that it said "reflects poorly on any person seeking to lead an academic enterprise."
Shannon told reporters the board "apparently did not believe" that Carter's explanations and answers were satisfactory.
Carter did not attend the meeting.
"In my professional opinion [the report] reaches a conclusion that was probably presupposed and does not have the substance to back it up," said Carter's lawyer, William McCoy. He would not comment on whether Carter would pursue legal action.
Carter's problems began about a month after New London announced he would be the new superintendent when The Courant reported on July 18 about Carter's long-standing use of Dr. with his name. That story reported that Carter provided The Courant with a transcript of courses he said he took to obtain a doctorate in 1996 from Lexington University -- which doesn't have a campus and had a website offering degrees for several hundred dollars with the motto "Order Now, Graduate Today!"
Questions about Carter deepened when a national research organization provided The Courant with a copy of a biography that it says Carter submitted to the American Institutes for Research in 2011, including the claim that he had a doctorate from Stanford University, which he does not. The Courant also reported that the biography he submitted to the school board was largely identical except for the Stanford reference.
Shipman & Goodwin cited the two biographies in its report.
"A pdf comparison of the biography submitted to the institute in 2011 and that submitted to the New London board of education illustrates that they are markedly similar in wording, type face, and the picture of Mr. Carter. The only difference is the bio submitted to New London does not include a reference to the doctorate from Stanford," the report states.
Carter said he never claimed to have a doctorate from Stanford, but the report said that "the credible evidence leads us to conclude that Mr. Carter sent this email to [the institute] with the biographies indicating he possessed a Ph.D from Stanford."
As to Carter's use of wording from Internet articles in his application essay, the report said "based on our review of Mr. Carter's application and our review of documents containing language identical to Mr. Carter's application, the evidence leads inescapably to the conclusion that these documents were sources from Mr. Carter's application."
It continues that "one of the most concerning examples is Mr. Carter's assertion [in the job application] in which he claims to have raised exactly the same amount of money ($20,217) in [a] fundraiser in 2012-2013 as did a fundraiser that was conducted in California in 2008-2009" that was written about in an article posted on the Web, the report stated.
Asked about the similarity by a Shipman investigator on Aug. 20, Carter "stated that this was a typographical error, oversight on his part, because his fundraiser actually raised closer to $40,000," the report states.
Carter explained one of his many uses of Dr. in past years by saying his mother "referred to him as Dr. on his taxes, which he further claims she compiles on his behalf," the report said.
Carter had told New London officials during the application process that he was due to receive a doctorate in education from Lesley University in Massachusetts this summer -- and, in a letter dated June 10, Carter's senior adviser at Lesley verified that he had "successfully defended his dissertation" on May 28, and would officially be awarded his doctorate on the "next degree conferral date, August 25, 2014."
Lesley did not award him the degree.
Last week, former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, whose wife is a doctoral candidate at Lesley, walked into the president's office at the university and delivered a letter advising the school to reconsider awarding Carter a doctorate.
"Numerous local and state newspaper stories show Mr. Carter to have lied about his accomplishments [and] he has plagiarized substantial portions of his application for a job in Connecticut," the former 2nd District congressman wrote to school President Joseph B. Moore.
Simmons said he was concerned about Lesley's reputation on behalf of his wife, a retired New London teacher now studying at Lesley.
"I strongly suggest that Lesley examine his course work and papers carefully before giving him any degree much less a Doctorate," Simmons wrote, adding that failure to do that "could lead to real embarrassment for you, the faculty and the University."
The New London board's June choice of Carter was watched more closely than most local hirings of school administrators, partly because the state Department of Education has played a strong role in addressing the local system's record of low performance. The board's June announcement that it had selected Carter was endorsed publicly by state education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.
After the vote, one New London resident used a public-comment period to advise the board not to repeat the mistakes it made with Carter.
"Going forward, the board needs to be very sure that it looks carefully" at the representations that applicants make, said Kenneth Bleeth, a retired professor of English at Connecticut College.
After the meeting the board's vice president, Elizabeth Garcia-Gonzalez, said the board will "most definitely" be more cautious in the next search. "We learned a lesson."
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