Hugh Bailey’s latest commentary piece is called “School leader’s time is running short.” The Connecticut Post editorial writer once again speaks truth to power.
The phrase “Truth to Power” was developed by the Quakers in the mid-1950s when it was used in a famous pamphlet that called for the United States to stand up against fascism and other forms of totalitarianism, especially here at home in the United States.
Over the years it has come to describe those who have the courage and conviction to stand up and speak out against arrogance, bullying and the unbridled power of the corporate and government elite.
Here in Connecticut, Hugh Bailey has become one of the most powerful “truth to power” voices in the state.
Here is his latest on the abusive nature of Paul Vallas and his backers.
“For anyone having trouble keeping track, there are now three separate clocks ticking on the tenure of Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas.
The first is a case to be heard Monday before the state Supreme Court, which will decide in coming months whether he is legally qualified to hold his job. A Superior Court judge has already ruled against him; the Supreme Court could overturn that decision, or it could agree and send Vallas packing.
The second took shape in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, which saw the easy win of three candidates who are dedicated skeptics of the superintendent’s work. There is still a November election to be held, but barring some unforeseen resurgence of local Republicans, who haven’t won citywide office in years, there will be a majority on the school board in favor of hiring someone new.
The third factor limiting his tenure is the superintendent himself, who has repeatedly said he doesn’t plan to be around long.
Of course, that depends on his audience. He told the Connecticut Post after the primary, “I have a three-year contract, and assuming the Supreme Court rules in my favor, I just will continue to work as long as I feel I am making progress.”
In July, though, he told reporters from Chicago and the New York Times that he was looking to stay in Bridgeport for another year or so. The Times story was about the rough political waters in Bridgeport, and saw the superintendent telling a reporter, apparently without irony, “There are some gigantic egos in this town.” This from someone who once compared himself to Michael Jordan.
Maybe since July he’s changed his mind, and is now in it for the long haul. It’s impossible to know. He did, though, insinuate that he would be headed back to Illinois, telling NBC Chicago, “Let’s just say I’m still registered to vote (there).” It was probably a coincidence that he gave a speech last week at an education conference at Elmhurst College, just outside Chicago.
Back in Bridgeport, which could really use a school leader who plans to be around a while, there have been two votes in recent months against the direction education policy has taken, but Vallas insists it’s not about him. In a way, he’s right.
It’s not personal. In fact, many Vallas opponents can come up with a few things he’s done that they support.
The votes against entrenched powers in the city were about much more than the superintendent. Still, the special treatment afforded him to get around certification laws makes an easy stand-in for the kind of cronyism voters are tired of.
The day Vallas leaves is the last day most Bridgeport residents will ever think about him, because the city will still have the same underfunded school district and social problems it had before he got here. That’s been the story with miracle-working school reformers from the beginning.
Vallas, meanwhile, will almost certainly find some other well-paying job. But he’d rather leave on his own terms than be fired or ruled ineligible.
His supporters know he’s leaving — or should, if they’re listening to him. And yet the city is spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend him at the Supreme Court, all for the sake of what will likely amount to another few months on the job.
The more factors that mount against him, and the greater lengths to which the city goes in ensuring he exits on his own terms, the more it looks like it’s the pride and reputation of Paul Vallas on the line rather than the well-being of Bridgeport students.
The sooner he leaves, the sooner the city can get to work on finding someone committed, long term, to doing the job.”
Truth to power is the telling it like it is…something Hugh Bailey has done once again.