In a party-line vote, today the Wake County school board fired Superintendent Tony Tata after 20 months on the job. He’ll receive a separation package of slightly more than $250,000.


Tata, who was a top assistant to Washington, D.C. superintendent Michelle Rhee — a rock star in the school reform movement — was brought in by the Republican majority elected in 2009 and immediately began looking at ways to modify the district’s unpopular school assignment policies. He also sought to expand parental choice.


These moves were anathema to the county’s left-liberal establishment. The conservative majority also made a series of unforced errors from its first days in charge, resulting in the defeat last year of board chairman Ron Margiotta and a return to a Democratic majority.


The board had every right to replace Tata. As conservatives pointed out when they got rid of Tata’s predecessor Del Burns, the superintendent works for the board. But now the establishment is back in charge. And as they say, if you broke it, you bought it.