What Do We Really Know about Ted J. Morris, Jr.? An Update.
Ever since the Democrat and Chronicle published on November 23, 2014, its article praising the newly-NY-Regents-approved, 22-year-old Ted J. Morris, Jr., for the 2015 approval of his Greater Works Charter School, much Morris-induced (mis)information has been flying through cyberspace on this man.
Indeed, with the new information that has come my way in the last 24 hours regarding Morris’ credentials and experience, my post dated November 24, 2014, has been updated numerous times, and still the information comes.
Even the Democrat and Chronicle (D&C) has attempted to straighten out the story on Morris. However, much of the information in that “update” lacks verification.
So, what do we know about this young man who persistently petitioned NY Regents beginning in 2010 to start a charter school?
He said Sunday that he graduated from School Without Walls in Rochester, but clarified Monday that he withdrew from that school in 2008 and graduated later that year from Penn Foster High School, a private online high school based in Pennsylvania.
Morris had previously stated that he graduated from Penn Foster in this charity bio.
As D&C notes, no one from Penn Foster could be reached to verify Morris’ statement. So, there is as of yet no clear word on Morris’ high school completion credential.
Next, on Morris’ Linkedin bio ( accessed here: http://i.imgur.com/xGohi4g.jpg), he states that he graduated in 2008 with a bachelors from Salt-Lake-City-based online school, Western Governors University (WGU). D&C also found this to be false. Morris attended online classes at WGU but did not graduate.
No WGU graduation for Morris. On that we are clear.
The November 25, 2014 D&C update states that Morris’ 2014 charter application “did not include a resume,” but this is not correct. Morris resume can be found on pages 146 and 147. It includes much of the same questionable information as the Linkedin bio I address in my original post. The D&C article apparently relies on Morris’ bio from the 2013 application for Greater Works Charter.
One notable point on which Morris’ charter application differs from the Linkedin bio involves his education. Here is his education from the Linkedin bio– one that he advertises as current on Twitter, where he refers to himself as “Dr.”:
However, here is his education experience as noted on the 2014 charter application signed and dated by Morris on July 24, 2014:
Recall that WGU confirmed that Morris did not graduate from WGU.
The second D&C article stated that Concordia University Chicago could not be reached for comment.
Also as part of his 2014 charter application is this contradiction about the “Dr.” title he openly uses on both Linkedin and Twitter. On the July 2014 charter application, Morris refers to himself as “Ted J. Morris, Jr., MSW” and includes the following (see page 40):
Ted has a B.S. in Human Services, an M.S.W. in Non-Profit Leadership and is finishing up his Ed.D. in Administration.
So, “Dr.” or no “Dr.”? In November 2014, Morris clearly refers to himself as “Dr.” The first identifier on his Twitter page is “Doctorate in Education.” Again, as I noted in my original post, neither ProQuest nor UMI has any record of a “Ted J. Morris, Jr.” as having written a dissertation.
In yet another education background contradiction, the second D&C article includes investigation of a former job application in which Morris listed both his bachelors and masters degrees as being from Idaho online school, Almeda University. When confronted by D&C, Morris response is that he “didn’t know why it was on his resume.”
The short of it: This guy is lying about his credentials, and NY Regents just approved him to run a NY charter school at $12,340 per student for the life of the charter (see page 56 of 2014 application), with 96 students approved for 2015-16. Morris admits in the second D&C article seeking his charter board “through posts on Craigslist, Linkedin, and websites for nonprofits” and has used their credentials to help dress up what is an impressive charter operation on paper.
D&C could not reach either of two NY Regents members for comment on Morris’ application approval.
If NY Regents really has students’ best interests in mind, it would seem that thorough checks on the references of charter applicants would be in order.
The credential shell game Morris is playing should have been a huge red flag waving pre approval.
Update 11-25-14: I know, on Twitter, there has been word that Morris quit the board of his charter. (See the Tweet as part of Peter Greene’s update.) Also, D&C offered a slight modification to its second article to include a statement that Morris is no longer “lead applicant” for the charter school:
The 22-year-old founder of a recently approved charter high school resigned Tuesday after apparent misrepresentations about his educational and professional background came to light. …
He submitted his resignation Tuesday afternoon, according to Peter Kozik, a Keuka College professor and fellow trustee who now will take over as lead applicant.
However, do not be quick to assume that Morris is walking away from the charter he has been planning for since 2010 (and falsely advertising as an existing school on Linkedin).
On the already approved 2014 charter application, Morris labels himself as “lead applicant for an founder of GWCS (Greater Works Charter School)” (page 40). So, even though he might be replaced as “lead applicant,” he can still cash in on this “founder” title– and based on the content of this post alone, one can see that Morris is all about milking the title. Moreover, board members are limited to two consecutive terms of as much as three years per term– and they cannot be compensated (see page 41). In contrast, the CEO is as of yet an undeclared position– and CEO is a position that is compensated.
Will Morris be CEO? Who knows. But I find it difficult to believe that Morris will not use his “founder” status as a springboard for more lucrative ventures.
Update 11-26-14: D&C finally tells Morris to “grow up”:
“Another lie became apparent Wednesday: Morris also claimed to have master’s and doctoral degrees from Concordia University Chicago, but a representative from that school said it had no record of him ever attending.”