When it comes to the ongoing attempt to keep education reformer extraordinaire Paul Vallas in place as Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools, Governor Malloy and his commissioner of education, Stefan Pryor, seem oblivious to their legal responsibilities. What makes the situation even more incredible is that Malloy and Pryor are actually flouting the very law they wrote to allow Vallas to slide into the position without the certification he would have otherwise needed.
Meanwhile, not only is Board of Education Chairman and Mayor Finch ally, Kenneth Moales, Jr. a willing accomplice in Malloy and Pryor’s scheme, but Moales is engaged in his own anti-democratic efforts by bullying and berating fellow members of the board, as well as pushing for a change in the rules to limit the minority from even being heard.
Yesterday, The Connecticut Post weighed in with a “must read” editorial about the lawsuit challenging the effort to skirt the law to keep Vallas in a job he isn’t qualified to hold.
The editors wrote, “There’s a tendency in some quarters to dismiss the importance of lawsuits as a waste of time and resources. But when traditional means fail, and people in power are unable or unwilling to take a look at a question of legitimate public interest, a court challenge might be the only choice.
Such is the case here.
The qualifications for Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas to hold his position are in question. This is not about his experience or his knowledge, but instead about the lawfully-required bar he is required to have cleared before he can assume his position.
It is not a question of semantics. Laws requiring standards to hold high-level jobs deny politicians the ability to put unqualified friends in those jobs, putting public policy in the hands of someone who happens to “know the right people.”
The editorial goes on to read, “On one count, there is no question — Vallas has received special treatment. He was temporarily appointed to his position despite not possessing the necessary qualifications as proscribed by state law, and the law was then changed to allow him to take the job permanently. Then, instead of completing a 13-month University of Connecticut course as would be required of other candidates, the state Board of Education approved for him an abbreviated, three-month program, which amounted to an independent study that was mostly completed remotely.”
While the full editorial can be found here: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/School-lawsuit-will-provide-needed-answers-4594422.php, it ends with a simple, but profound conclusion;
Speaking to the pending case and the attempt to force the state to uphold the law, the Connecticut Post writes, “So it’s up to a judge. And it may be that the judge is just fine with all this. Should a court rule that all these steps were proper and necessary, and that Vallas has fulfilled his legal requirements to be a superintendent in the state of Connecticut, then that’s how it is. Such a ruling would codify a two-tiered system, one for people with reputations and high-ranking allies and the other for everyone else, but such a system would hardly be unprecedented. What is welcome is that the questions are being asked. Bridgeport and its school system could use more of that.”