UNC’s Partnership Raises Questions

Sam Houston, executive director of UNC’s Center for School Leadership Development (NCCSLD), who had earlier told Clarion Call that NCCSLD was not in partnership with the International Center for Leadership in Education and its leader, Dr. Willard Daggett, went back on his word this week. In a report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on Tuesday, Houston said that NCCSLD’s relationship with Daggett’s firm was, indeed, a “partnership.”
“A relationship/partnership has been established with the International Center for Leadership in Education, Inc.,” reads Houston’s report to the committee. “This Center will collaborate with the Kenan Center, leadership to identify our national and international clients and collaborators. Dr. Willard Daggett, President of ICLE, and his Senior Consultants will assist in the identification of model schools, programs, and policy in the United States, Europe, and Asia that are evaluated and recognized as exemplary.”

Two week ago, Houston told CC that to say NCCSLD had partnered with Daggett’s firm mischaracterized the relationship. “If we use him, if anybody uses him, it’s on an individual contractual basis.” Daggett said. “I don’t control what the eight subgroups [of the Center] do. I don’t know one of them that has used him.”

But on Tuesday, Houston said Daggett’s firm would help launch NCCSLD’s new website, the Kenan Best Practices Center (bestpractices.ga.unc.edu), a project that Houston hopes will bring more cooperation among the various groups under NCCSLD. The Center for School Leadership Development is a conglomeration of North Carolina teacher academies, whose stated mission is to coordinate and improve programs devoted to the “professional development” of public school teachers and administrators. Such programs include the North Carolina Model Teacher Education Consortium (NCMTEC), the North Carolina Center for the Prevention of School Violence (NCCPSV), the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT). With the help of Daggett’s firm, Houston hopes the website will become a clearinghouse of information on exemplary programs, policies, and schools for these groups.

The partnership between ICLE and NCCSLD is important, not only because NCCSLD uses state appropriations for its programs (the total operating budget for all NCCSLD programs in FY 1999-2000 is $12.4 million), but also because Daggett, a nationally known motivational speaker, has been accused by top education experts of embellishing his resume, giving false information, and basing his presentations on shaky research (for more information, see Clarion Call, Nov. 18 and Investor’s Business Daily, Oct. 22).

Besides the new partnership, NCCSLD has invited Daggett to speak on two occasions in the last two years. Houston estimates that NCCSLD has paid Daggett between $10,000 and $14,000.

In Other News: College and university endowments earned an average return of 11.1 percent in fiscal 1999, down from 18 percent the previous year, according to the preliminary results of an annual study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). A fuller report will be issued in January. The rate of return – the lowest in five years – can be “attributed to a volatile stock market,” read a one-paragraph statement by NACUBO on the study. Despite the downward trend, the endowments’ average return remained above 10 percent for the fifth straight year. To read the preliminary report of the study, see the Dec. 9 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.