Vallas Explains His Bridgeport Testing Frenzy on National Blog; Just Fails To Tell the Truth

39 Comments

On May 31, 2012, American education expert Diane Ravitch posted a blog about the decision by Bridgeport’s Interim Superintendent, Paul Vallas, to end the school year with another round of standardized tests.

Yesterday Vallas posted a response on her blog and I, in turn, responded to Mr. Vallas’ comments.

 It is a long read – but I would urge anyone who is impacted or following the developments in Bridgeport to take a look.  Mr. Vallas’ claims are beyond astounding;

Ravitch Blog: Test, Test, Test, Test: Another Day in Bridgeport

Paul Vallas has taken over as superintendent in Bridgeport, Connecticut, while running a consulting business on the side (he just won a $1 million contract to help fix the Illinois schools).

He is concerned that students and teachers slack off after they take the state tests in March, so he has just imposed yet another round of tests for the end of year, which will precede the administration of even more tests.

You see, this is the way corporate reformers think. If students don’t have tests to face, they won’t learn anything. If teachers don’t have a test to prepare students for, they won’t teach anything. They think that no one in school will do anything unless someone at the top is holding out a stick or a carrot.

What they do not understand is the basic idea of intrinsic motivation. By relying so heavily on extrinsic motivation, the corporate reformers will snuff out any outcroppings of intrinsic motivation.

What the Bridgeport approach will do with certainty is to eliminate any time for creative activities and projects; to remove any time for exploration and un-regimented learning. It will substitute testing for teaching. It relies on coercion as the prime motivator for learning.

It is a plan that will prepare students for factory work in the early twentieth century.

Diane

 

Paul Vallas’ Comment To Ravitch’s Post on June 8, 2012

Diane,

As someone who has known you for a long time as a colleague and a friend, I am taken aback by your post about Bridgeport testing. We are up to our ears with a district in crisis and trying to right the ship for the mostly minority, low income children who are our responsibility. Perhaps the hectic pace here in the district accounts for why I missed your phone call expressing concern for the methodology I, in partnership with my Chief Administrator, Dr. Sandra Kase, are employing? Of course, no phone call ever came. Therefore I will respond in this forum.

As I explained to my teachers in school visits and by memo, which I would have been happy to share with you, the Connecticut assessment test is weak. I have always been critical of annual state tests that are high stake, that are too narrow, that are administered too early and that produce data that is dated by the end of any given school year. Connecticut’s assessment system has all of those shortcomings. It is unfair to both teachers and students. Thus, in an effort to support teachers and to give them the baseline data that they need in real time at the end of the year, we are am administering a series of short end-of-the-year tests to give teachers an accurate and up to date picture of their students’ full learning profiles, and in particular the skills and concepts that need to be re-taught or strengthened to ensure student success in the new school year term. Our teachers care deeply about their students’ success, and most of them are delighted to have the opportunity to gain a clear picture of which children need to be in summer school. They welcome the baseline data that will give them the information they need over the summer to plan for the strengths and weaknesses of their incoming classes, to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate interventions and supports. They agree with us that this will help them be confident and ready to instruct in the new and more rigorous curriculum and instructional program we are implementing in 2012-2013.

There is no downside to these baseline assessments. The results do not factor into student promotion or teacher retention. Allow me to reiterate, they will simply provide current, data-guided decisions about summer school interventions to the benefit of students who are struggling, they will inform as to where additional supports should be allocated to individual students next year, and they will provide a baseline that will guide the implementation for next year’s new curriculum and instructional program. It is a responsible, proactive, vigorous measure to ensure teachers have the information they need to be effective in as close to “real time” possible, and that students get the support they need beginning on day one of next school year.

With regard to the comment about running a consulting business on the side, after my previous districts, Bridgeport is a small district by my experience. I was recruited Bridgeport to become interim Superintendent with the full understanding that I would continue to be available to help other school districts as needed. You will recall that I have been doing work in Chile and Haiti. The Illinois contract you speak of, which has yet to be tendered, is actually a request to do turnaround in two historically failing districts. I have assembled a team of top educators, many of whom you know or know of, and all of whom come from the traditional schools community. While the price tag on that contract may sound exotic at $1 million, that actually covers the cost of the team for three years work in two school districts. Let me point out that in New York, that much money is frequently spent annually on interventions targeting a single school only. I hope these are the not the only projects where we can make the type of impact we are making here in Bridgeport. I expect it to be quite a challenge and one I look forward to. Give Dr. Kase and me a call if you wish to discuss further or the next time you want an explanation of any of our programs. Your call is always welcome.

Regards,
Paul Vallas

Jonathan Pelto’s Response to Paul Vallas on June 8, 2012

Paul,

I’d like to take a moment to respond to the comment you recently posted in response to Diane Ravitch’s blog about the testing mania that you have brought to Bridgeport, Connecticut.

My name is Jonathan Pelto and I’m the one who writes the CT Blog called Wait, What?.

I spent nearly a decade as a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, serving as a member of both the Appropriations and Education Committees. During my tenure in the Legislature, I had the honor of helping to develop the Education Enhancement Act and the Education Cost Sharing Formula, the two most important pieces of education legislation in modern Connecticut history. I represented the 54th House District, while my friend and colleague, Nancy Wyman, who presently serves as the state’s Lt. Governor, served in the 53rd District.

In addition to spending nearly four decades working on and monitoring education policy in Connecticut, I’ve managed or worked on numerous political campaigns at the federal, state and local level. Although I’m from far northeastern Connecticut, my first campaign working with Bridgeport politics was thirty years ago. Since then I’ve been a regular observer, and sometime participant, in Bridgeport politics.

Your response to Diane raises a few key issues.

Let me first address your introduction in which you say;

“We are up to our ears with a district in crisis and trying to right the ship for the mostly minority, low income children who are our responsibility. Perhaps the hectic pace here in the district accounts for why I missed your phone call expressing concern for the methodology I, in partnership with my Chief Administrator, Dr. Sandra Kase, are employing? Of course, no phone call ever came.” Therefore I will respond in this forum.”

That paragraph is probably the most insulting, self-centered and sophomoric thing I’ve ever read. Only someone who is obsessively self-centered would start with such an absurd and arrogant introduction. No one, least of all someone of Diane Ravitch’s caliber, would be expected to “check in” with you before articulating an opinion about your public activities. You are a public employee, engaged in the public’s business. If you wanted a life of quiet insignificance you should have chosen to be a hedge fund manager.

Then, to add insult to injury, you go on to say that you;

“Explained” to your “teachers in school visits and by memo that the Connecticut assessment test is weak…”and “thus, in an effort to support teachers and to give them the baseline data that they need in real time at the end of the year, we are am [sic] administering a series of short end-of-the-year tests to give teachers an accurate and up to date picture of their students’ full learning profiles, and in particular the skills and concepts that need to be re-taught or strengthened to ensure student success in the new school year term.”

But of course, Mr. Vallas that is an absolute and total lie.

The memo that you or Sandra Kase wrote to all teachers, of which I’d be happy to give you a copy, speaks of the “lull in learning” that takes place after standardized tests and announces that you have scheduled another round of tests – to be done exactly like the first round – in order to ensure that teachers are focused on their jobs till the end of the semester.

Your memo reminded me of Governor Malloy’s comment that a teacher need only show up for four years to get tenure or his statement that he is okay with teaching to the test as long as the test scores go up. They are statements that are, at best, disingenuous.

As we now know, your testing scheme actually disrupted the finals and end of year projects that would have given teachers and administrators the ability to finalize the lists of who needed summer school. Your tests not only failed to do that but were actually counterproductive to that very task.

You go on to inform Diane Ravitch that “our teachers care deeply about their students’ success, and most of them are delighted to have the opportunity to gain a clear picture of which children need to be in summer school. They welcome the baseline data that will give them the information they need over the summer to plan for the strengths and weaknesses of their incoming classes, to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate interventions and supports. They agree with us that this will help them be confident and ready to instruct in the new and more rigorous curriculum and instructional program we are implementing in 2012-2013.”

Come now, please. Try to maintain some element of the truth. The additional standardized test was an opportunity to know one’s students. And who needs extra help from a test that appeared late in the year and failed to remotely follow the approved curriculum?

 

What about the 11th grade math test that included topics that aren’t taught until 12th grade or the 5th grade questions that were simply wrong?

What about the question that proved the pitfall of standardized testing when it asked urban, minority students to respond to a question about a “deck” when it turns out that not a single student knew what a “deck” was, although all knew that the porch was the thing that is attached to nearly every house in Bridgeport.

And if you are so concerned about preparing for the fall’s high school seniors, how do you rationalize your decision to purchase new textbooks before the group that is assigned to develop the revised curriculum even meets.

That doesn’t even begin to address your unilateral decision to shift next fall’s high school seniors away from reading African American and world literature and, instead, having them read an anthology of British Literature.

I had the opportunity recently to tour a Title 1 school in New York City. Their school wide curriculum development process, which included full utilization of the Rubicon Atlas software program, was a weekly event throughout the year and they are still not completely ready for next year. Under your approach, the curriculum will be developed in a few short sessions and presented to teachers in the days immediately before the start of the school year.

Finally, as a Connecticut resident let me just say that your belief that you are entitled to run “a consulting business on the side” since Bridgeport is such a small district compared to your previous experience” says more about your commitment and dedication than anything you could have possibly said. The $229,000 plus benefits may seem a pittance to you, but Connecticut residents are not out of line to believe that for that amount of money the children, parents and teachers of the City deserve someone’s full-time attention.

Since it was you who introduced the notion that an “expert’s” comments should go unquestioned, let me just say, as an expert on Connecticut politics, that while you will come and go as you please, that last comment of yours implying that setting Bridgeport’s schools is virtually child’s play compared to your previous efforts will live to haunt Mayor Finch and the Bridgeport leaders who recruited you. If one of my employees said something so incredible insulting, I’d tell him he needn’t return in the morning.

I have watched your activities from afar since you arrived in Connecticut and your post on Diane Ravitch’s blog says more about you and your intentions than anything else I’ve read to date.

  • guest

    I had no idea that Bridgeport enjoyed the expertise of TWO part-time pricey school administrators.  In addition to the multi-tasking Paul Vallas, Dr. Sandra Kase seems to run multiple school districts and collect multiple pay checks.
    Thanks, Jonathan, for speaking truth to power, and thanks, Diane Ravitch.

  • Linda174

    What a pompous egotistical self-absorbed windbag! Disgusting!

    • Magister

      His condescension is nearly comical, given the identity of the person whom he is addressing.

      • jonpelto

        I actually started laughing when I saw his intro and then got pissed. I had to read it two of three times before I could grasp that someone could be (a) that arrogant and (b) that socially incompetent…unless it is a disorder issue of some type. I’m serious – posting that to a national blog?
        And this guy ran for governor of illinois and came in 2nd in a primary – could you imagine one of out major elected officials saying something like that – they may think it – but in candidate school 101 the key take away is – candidates who make it seem like its all about them don’t seem to do as well as candidates who make it appear that they are just doing their best to support the team effort.
        And the shot that he is the savior of these poor children of color… He must have cut and pasted it out of some 1950 republican candidate guide.
        Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • R.L.

          One of our major elected officials did say something like that.

          “In today’s (public education) system, basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours,”

          Governor (for one term) Dan Malloy

  • Linda174

    Please leave your thoughts and concerns posted for Vallas to read. When he isn’t busy flying with his superhero cape from disaster to disaster (the ones he is creating) I am sure he must check in to read about himself:

    http://dianeravitch.net/2012/05/31/test-test-test-test-another-day-in-bridgeport/

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrea.conway.50 Andrea Conway

    Watching Vallas  and Finch further destroy  the Bridgeport Schools has been personally tragic and infuriating for me . Mr. Pelto, your  precise, and direct and just plain perfect response gives me hope to continue the fight against these disaster capitalist of eduction. THANK YOU THANK YOU Thank YOU!

  • Magister

    I am glad our situation here in CT has attracted the attention of Ravitch.

  • AM

    Maybe he’ll actually hire some substitute teachers on days certain teachers are absent rather than splitting up that particular class and sending them to other classrooms.  Every teacher I know in Bridgeport has had to deal with that.  How the parents allow it, I don’t know.  Most have also been transferred mid year (or any other time) from one grade level to another.  Perhaps he should look at the idiot administration and policies that take a first grade teacher out of her room in November and stick her in fifth grade for the remainder of the year.  This jack*** will probably blame that on the teachers too.

    • Linda174

      What is the reasoning, if any, for mid year transfers? Who takes over the class?
      Do all administrators just do what he says?

      • AM

        Only a few were fully aware of why it was happening.  One was a case of a teacher retiring in October who couldn’t take the abusive principal, so she took all her accumulated sick days until her retirement.  Rather than get a long term sub, they just put the kids in other classes (not necessarily the same grade either).  But if a teacher is out for personal reasons or professional development training, many schools don’t hire subs.

    • jonpelto
    • anniemil

      re not getting subs for absent teachers: “How the parents allow it, I don’t know.”

      A very successful school system on the shoreline also does not get subs. They have an automated system and if no one answers the call…oh, well… I think the parents may not be aware of all that goes on. If the student is not old enough to be a reliable informant, how would they know?

      • jonpelto

        You all have just identified yet another issues that now needs investigating. Call me naïve but I though everyone got subs.

        Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • Luv2Teach

          Ok, so, naïve you are!! ;) Happens almost every week… teachers provide “split lists” to administrators and when no subs come (not sure why?;), they split the students to other teachers.  Hence, on any given day, teachers could have 4-5 extra students sitting in their classrooms (yes, from different grade levels, too :( If maxing-out classes is executed next year (I believe that means 29 students in the elementary grades) – this would be impossible to continue without obvious breech of contract:(  We wonder how they’ll “reform” that one, too;)

          • jonpelto

            I’m laughing and crying – such a terrible commentary about life in suburbia vs, the city. A superintendent would last exactly one day if they took a class and shoved it into other classes. Maybe you could get away with doing coverage once or twice but what a stunning difference – that alone could reduce the “achievement” gap.
            So I’ll admit being naïve but it is fortuitous that this issue – because now we’ll make sure that legislators know this, Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

          • LoveMyKids

            Every week? In our school it happens DAILY! I’ve had more than 8 extra students in my room when I already have 26 of my own! The teachers hardly ever provide work and if they do, it’s one or two sheets. I’ve even had students three grade levels above mine split to my room. The kids lose a TON of instructional time.

    • guest

      I have witnessed that sub problem.  The “splits” are pretty common in Windham, unfortunately.  At many schools, not just in Windham, they sometimes have staff who fill in–they are not exactly on-site permanent subs, but they can be a stabilizing presence.  This is one way some districts have justified TFA, or TFA has justified itself–that districts were exhausting their sub lists.
      Of course the issue, partially caused by right-wing attacks on public spending and progressive taxation, allows the same right/tea party elements to start attacking the unions (what else?).  Adamowski and his lackeys at the National Council on Teacher Quality (he’s on the board, which he did not disclose when he hired them to assess Hartford schools) stated that it would be better if districts just cut the number of paid sick days teachers have.  Anyone who has ever taught, at any level, but especially with younger children, knows how frequently illnesses race through a school–students, teachers, and staff alike.  so it is ridiculous to cut sick days.  Better pay and better vetting of subs would help, as would smaller classes to begin with.

  • leoniehaimson

    question: is the CT assessment test that he calls “weak” the same one that will be used to evaluate teachers?  And how much is being spent for this extra round of testing?

  • Linda174

    Savage posted this a while ago, but it was also on Diane’s blog:

    http://madisonamps.org/2012/05/23/who-is-paul-vallas-and-why-is-he-coming-to-madison/

  • Bpt. Teacher

    No, we often don’t get subs and then the class is either split or other teachers take turns covering the class, during their prep periods. Part of it is that Bridgeport does not pay that great for subs. But, also the new subfinder online system makes it very easy for a sub to drop an assignment the night before or even the morning of, leaving the position unfilled. There is no personal contact or sense of obligation.  I agree whole-heartedly with everything you’ve been posted.  It is so sad that this is being done to our students.  Bridgeport already had online tests in place in addition to the state tests, to make sure our students were learning what they were supposed to be and to help determine where they are.  It is also insulting to say that teachers need tests to know their students. Most teachers know their students by working with them and informal or formal assessments in the classroom. The testing was a huge disruption and took more time from instruction, as well as the additional half days they added to present the 3 new programs being brought in at once. 

  • jonpelto

    Such a great question!

    I will try to get an answer from the state department of education spokesperson on that very point….
    Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • Linda174

      How did Vallas determine it was “weak”? What measurement did he use? As compared to what? This is just another case of because he says it, it must be true. Same with Gates, Rhee, etc… Time to question them…and thanks to Jon and others that is happening.

  • Sam

    Interesting…”Our teachers care deeply about their students’ success, and most of them are delighted to have the opportunity to gain a clear picture of which children need to be in summer school. ” 

    What is all the talk about using the results to guide summer school or enter children into summer school?  The tests were administered to grades 3-11 or 12 and my understanding is that there is NO summer school for students in grades 4 – 8.  I don’t know about the high school level, but I know in elementary summer school is only available to grades K – 3.

  • Luv2Teach

    not sure if this was already shared, but good for them in NYC to boycott Pearson’s excessive, unnecessary (and inaccurate to boot!)  testing on our children!  

    http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2012/06/video-of-pearson-protest-today.html

  • Dhennessey482

    As a retired teacher in Bridgeport’s public school system, I find it mind-boggling to witness the devastation that Paul Vallas is creating.  How does he have a “blank check” to do as he pleases?  When the taxpayers start shelling out his tax increase, MAYBE some will wake up.  Of course, by then, he’ll be gone and we’ll be left with HIS mess!  More useless testing, more time away from learning, ordering complete system-wide textbooks with NO input from people who have actually been teaching in classrooms are some of his ideas.  Bridgeport is NOT Haiti, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Illinois!!!  I know it’s just a paycheck for Vallas and his cronies, but our Bridgeport kids REALLY do deserve more.  In my one face-to-face contact with Paul Vallas, he said he would get back to us immediately with a solution/answer to our problem.  Well, that was four months ago.  Guess what?  No response.  But we did get an earful of how great he was in all of those other environs.

  • jonpelto

    Not sure if the shock is they lied or they they posted such obvious lies on a national blog. Maybe they think people of bridgeport or connecticut are to stupid to catch on.
    But the strangest thing is that Finch allows there people to say and do stupid things that he will pay for. Vallas and these clowns will be gone by the next election – and he’ll be left with the fall out – bills that can’t be paid, bridgeport and ct people unemployed to make room for the consultants, the insults and lies and will be the various investigations. The way this is going down the person he is going to take the fall is bill finch and his inner circle,
    Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • jonpelto

    Jusr breath-taking – that Bridgeport’s political leadership would sit silent and that state officials would facilitate this madness. The impact on children and the fallout will be primarily in Bridgeport and the financial impact will be on Bridgeport property taxes and statewide.
    The Malloy Administration took responsibility for the cost when they took over, people will go nuts – raise taxes $1.5 billion for vital services and people will accept it. Raise taxes, have a state defict and waste the money on out of state consultants and arrogant ones at that…..

    Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • guest

    Sorry, slightly off topic, but the Connecticut Mirror had a story on the $$$ spent on Ed Reform lobbying:
    http://ctmirror.com/story/16576/cost-reforming-education
    very depressing… especially the justification of Michelle Rhee.

    • savage

      I found the last few lines especially unsettling…

      Asked if her organization plans to campaign for certain legislative seats in Connecticut in the coming election, Rhee said she considering it.
      “It’s very interesting to us. But we haven’t made any decisions yet,” she said.

      • Linda174

        Does anyone actually believe Rhee’s grassroots BS?

  • Sue

    So if a special education student totally bombs on this grade level test, they will get the assistance they should have been getting  all along – such as full time paraprofessional assistance as mandated on their IEP?

  • Linda174

    Posted on Diane R’s blog:

    Paul and Sandra came roaring into Bridgeport with a plan. Vallas will very quickly tell you how great the “Plan” worked in other districts that were much larger than Bridgeport. There is no customized turn-around model based on district or students needs. All there is is the same old plan: Secure a contract for himself, hire every reject/retired person he knows, fire/lay-off teachers/administrators, spend big money on books and curriculum, cook the books, fudge the data, promote your greatness, get out of town.

  • Linda174

    Vallas is concerned that they can pick and choose kids and turn some away…isn’t that what charter schools do? And some suggested they can apply to be a charter school even though they have existed for many years. Vallas just needs the money for a new administrative crony position and more test booklets.

    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Alternative-high-school-students-upset-at-plan-to-3620333.php

  • Christopher O’Brien

    The comment above by the superintendant was insightful.

    Its refreshing to see theory and analysis behind the thought process of a leader. Mr. Pelto has nothing but grandstanding and criticism for – a man I’m only introduced with for the first time in this forum – who clearly is trying something new and different for one of our state’s worst school systems.

    Now, if Mr. Pelto wants to try doing the same thing we’ve been doing all along- niceties and good intentions all the way – then we’ll continue to lead the nation at the bottom of the pack. What’s Connecticut currently ranked? 47th? Oh, good, we’re not the worst. (yet).

    Now for Mr. Pelto’s “exposing” of Mr. Vallas’s “contradiction” about basically giving a late term test to give teachers a real time assessment of where students are. Mr. Pelto, that discussion only reinforces Mr. Vallas’s point. I guess we can forgive you – you learned reading comprehension and application in a Connecticut school. Bridgeport perhaps?

    Mr. Pelto’s criticism of a “deck” question (cards? a punch thrown in hockey or Mr. Pelto’s way? Gosh, Mr. Pelto, this is an open forum… set up the scenario… what are you talking about?!) is quite revealin of his mentality towards Bridgeport children. Clearly, he wants them to fail, expecting that not a single one of them ever ventured outside of the depressed city or know what some of their rap stars might be grilling bbq on in their Floridian mansions. Don’t you watch MTV?

    We need to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. Hence, I can understand some consternation between the interim superintendant, teachers and cynical columnists who can’t find a more practical job. Marking your territory is only natural, but it also helps each other understand what is known to each other and how to get everyone on the same page. That’s a tough process. Experience is different, and areas of knowledge that are lacking in one party’s briefcase need to be filled in. Its bound to happen and a fact of life. The point of course is to move everyone forward together- let everyone buy in, and have an open discission, perhaps of ideas that exist even in Bridgeport but perhaps haven’t been brought to light because of the inertia of  past practices.

    If we went down Mr. Pelto’s road though, these students will forever be doomed to only learn what they already know (over, and over, and over- pushing no one’s boundaries or interests). let’s teach these kids how to better themselves, make something of themselves and perhaps be able to move to Trumbull, Milford, Fairfield or perhaps another wealthy community one day. Or even better… perhaps stay in Bridgeport but upgrading the city and raising proud families that are happy that they are challenged and contributing to the city they may grow to love.

    But the Democratic Party is the party of the poor. So its in his best interest to keep kids where they are.

  • JM

    Jon,

    Thanks for writing the second letter on Diane’s blog.  You can’t make this stuff up.

    “…the Connecticut assessment test is weak. I have always been critical of
    annual state tests that are high stake, that are too narrow, that are
    administered too early and that produce data that is dated by the end of
    any given school year. Connecticut’s assessment system has all of
    those shortcomings. It is unfair to both teachers and students.”  -P. Vallas

    Continue to have a field day with this one.  The more we all push, the more they’ll begin to spill the bean with what they really think.  I’m still waiting for Riccards to drop some quotes from their recent award. 

  • jonpelto
  • CTVeteran

    Mr. O’Brien, I am not sure what your background in, but proffessional a$$-kissing must be part of the job description. Mr. Pelto has not offered a road, more then to point out the road many districts and some of our politicians are on is only going to lead us to more loss of education, and tax dollars. I also dont see where he has any interest in keeping people poor, since its his tax dollars also that go up.

    Now, onto you… How should I and my fellow teachers try to understand someone who has no background in education other than to swoop in, get a nice contract to “fix” broken schools and then after he/she (think Rhee here) leaves all that is in the wake is a bunch of people going “what the hell just happened”?.

    DC – cheating 
    Philly/Chicago – Still broken, some would say more so than before.
    Haiti/Chile – Really?

    What good does Bridgeport schools failing do anyone except the people who can come in and take the tax dollars to “fix” the schools? And if we are moving “everyone” forward like you say, what is it ok to damn all the teachers, especially their pay, to bring in ed. corps that have a history of using the cheapest labor possible, which barely sticks around for more than 2 years?

    You sir are a misguided person, who is blinded by your own loyalty to a broken corporate model. Which company would you like to see Bridgeport model after under the control of this ignorant CEO? Enron? WorldCOM? Tyco? 

  • TeachBridgeport

    As a teacher in Bridgeport Public Schools, I would like to thank Mr. Vallas for his ongoing efforts to improve the educational landscape and outcomes in Bridgeport, my home. Mr. Vallas, while we appreciate your help in providing us with baseline data, you should know that we are more than capable of collecting all the data we need on our own. While your intentions are wonderful, the results are the opposite. We are teachers not small children; as such, you do not need to collect information on our behalf. Rather, we would much appreciate if you would please get out of our classrooms and let us do our jobs; the circus that precedes and follows you is distracting the students. The low achievers residing in the district are not a result of inadequate data; they are the result of factors educators can only control with the help of the community at large: high poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy. We do not need to be told what to do by people appointed by some foreign body. We need you to do what we ask you to do: Please, get out of the way. While you will be gone in two or three years, we will stay long after that, picking up the pieces of the bombs you drop and the explosions those bombs cause. The greatest educational leaders are able to get out of their teachers’ way, REMOVE impediments, and make it possible for us to do our jobs. We would appreciate if you would do that for us, a group of highly capable, experienced, seasoned educators.