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Ex-Philly superintendent Paul Vallas ousted as Bridgeport schools chief

By the Notebook on Jul 2, 2013 11:35 AM

by Sonia Giebel

Former Philly schools chief Paul Vallas was ordered to step down from his current post as Bridgeport's superintendent because he did not have the required accreditations.

The state requires all superintendents to complete a 13-month-long leadership course at the University of Connecticut. Vallas, instead, took an eight-hour course that was specially designed for him.

Bridgeport families and city activist Carmen Lopez filed the lawsuit against Vallas. Their attorney Norman Pattis called the alternate course a “sham.” 

"Thank heavens we had a forum and justice has prevailed," said Lopez to the Connecticut Post. "This was not a technicality, this was a serious matter."

Vallas previously served as superintendent in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans before being appointed in Bridgeport in 2011. Vallas had his position elevated to permanent status just four days before the ruling.

Educational Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Mayor Bill Finch disagree with the ruling and plan to appeal it. In a statement, Pryor said:

"We disagree with and are disappointed by the court's decision. Paul Vallas' superintendency—affirmed by Bridgeport's democratically elected school board—has brought to the city invaluable expertise acquired over Mr. Vallas' previous 15 years as Superintendent of three major urban districts. We support Bridgeport's decision to pursue next steps in the legal process."

They hope that the decision will be overturned in a higher court and that Vallas will be able to return to his $234,000-a-year job. 

According to the Post, Vallas sent an email shortly after the decision, stating, “I am going to continue to do what I have for nearly 20 years and focus on improving schools for students desperately in need of a better education.”

Vallas oversaw the large privatization of Philadelphia schools in 2002, allowing private managers and for-profit institutions to run public schools. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans' public schools, Vallas led the effort to reform and rebuild that district through the massive expansion of charter schools. 

There was a rally to support Vallas in Bridgeport last night

(Source: Connecticut Post)

Sonia Giebel is an intern at the Notebook.

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Comments (11)

Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on July 2, 2013 1:18 pm
Coming from Philadelphia Vallas must have just not understood that a 13 month course meant 13 months. He was used to the system in place in most Philadelphia High Schools where a student can miss say an hundred or more days of the year and then spent a couple of weeks in "Credit Recovery" to pass. Philadelphia Employers just love these credentials. Connecticut is very backward and should get on the program. Who can you increase the graduation rate if you continue to enforce the actual rules? If unburdened by these silly rules I am sure Vallas would increase graduation rates in Bridgeport. That is what we all want. Right?
Submitted by Tymir (not verified) on July 2, 2013 9:35 pm
Ackerman would have had them design a 1-minute course for her that included a free lunch. I wonder what Hite will have designed for him in the future...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 2, 2013 11:58 pm
Why does Bridgeport even have a school board though? I live in King of Prussia and the school district is Upper Merion which includes Bridgeport and Gulph Mills. Isn't that a waste of resources? Bridgeport has one elementary school and that's it. It is the most poorly performing school out of all of the Upper Merion schools. The HS and three other elementary schools are located in King of Prussia (which is also a much higher earning income area). Just a thought.....
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2013 1:31 am
Best comment ever.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2013 5:34 am
Bridgeport, CT.....not in Pa----read people, read people!!!
Submitted by U. Hate (not verified) on July 3, 2013 2:55 pm
Ummm... Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 3, 2013 6:33 am
Vallas is the biggest BS artist I have ever met in my 38 years. I worked for the guy and have seen him in operation. He only cares about his political career. He destroys everything he touches everywhere he goes. He is an egomaniac. That is why every district has ended up dumping him. His BS can only last so long. These guys in these positions think they can just ignore the law and do whatever they want anyway. He came to Furness one day to do a photo shoot in our courtroom there. He said he was going to launch a criminal justice curriculum in Philly. (He never did.) A student asked him to stay and speak with her about school issues. He said he could not right then but would come back next week. She said to him point blank, "No you won't." Of course he didn't come back to speak to the girl like he had promised her. Our students may not score high on the PSSA's but they can spot a phony a mile away.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2013 7:22 am
Vallas destroyed neighborhood schools. The Law SLA at Furness was lost. Vallas - like Ackerman - was about Vallas. I'm glad someone has stood up to him.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 3, 2013 7:00 am
You are correct. Vallas took the law magnet program away from Furness. The law program at Furness attracted high achieving students from all over the city. It was a wonderful program. But Vallas took it away and imposed only his programs, which of course, all were failures. Then Lisa Nutter, as the CEO of Philadelphia Academies, Inc., disbanded all of the law magnet programs throughout the city which were supported by the Philadelphia Academies, Inc. Then to top things off, Vallas closed Audenreid immediately after gang violence there where a student was slashed with a knife inside Audenreid. He sent over 300 Audenreid students to Furness with no additional teachers or support at all. He sent us some of the most violent students I had ever had to deal with. All they wanted to do was fight with the 5th and 12th street kids. I did crisis management all year long. Thank God the Furness teachers were so great. They did anything I asked. Talking about going beyond the call of duty? They were wonderful. I could not have done it without their help and endless support. He did the same thing to Southern. That is how it got so out of order which finally resulted in the federal law suit when the Asian students were not protected from attacks. That all happened because Vallas is a grandstander and creates a show for the press. The man has no Character.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2013 12:54 pm
Vallas is a career-liar. He lied about his educational background when he was running the Chicago schools. His test scores were his "success" until a teacher named George Schmidt had the guts to post the test online and everybody saw that is was a joke. The city dropped the test the right after and Vallas went after Schmidt for exposing him. Vallas moved onto Philly where he put our artwork from the schools into "safekeeping". I wrote him about a kid passing out pot to my kids. The child was suspended a few days and moved to another classroom. So much for "zero tolerance"., Paul said he's "look into the situation", but failed to get back to me. When his 2nd in command, Gregory Thornton, was caught taking a bribe Vallas stated he would punish him. However, when Thornton tried to become a superintendent in Seattle Vallas went to bat for him and said he just said he'd punish him because that's what Philly wanted to hear! He will say whatever he thinks the public wants to hear to attain his agendas.
Submitted by Suin (not verified) on April 17, 2015 11:47 am

I haven’t informed about this news! It is very shocking to hear about this news. I don’t understand why it happened like this. I don’t know Paul Vallas personally. I just have a little information regarding him. Anyway it is very shameful to hear this.

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