Parent Leader Shares Vallas’ Accomplishments

Should Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas stay or go? That question will be decided by the nine-member Board of Education split on Vallas’ future. It appears five members want him to stay and four want to expel him, including three members affiliated with the Connecticut Working Families Party. OIB asked Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the WFP, to submit a commentary explaining why Vallas must go. We also asked Jessica Martinez, a leader with the education support group Parents 4 Progress to make the case for Vallas to stay. Martinez, a parent who regularly attends school board meetings, says progress has been made under Vallas. She lists accomplishments below. OIB will run the WFP commentary if/when it is received.

Paul Vallas’s Accomplishments in Bridgeport

1) He closed an $18 million deficit from the old BOE without massive teacher layoffs, combining classrooms, or major cuts to high school sports, talented and gifted and arts programs.

Please see this article for the list of cuts being proposed before Paul Vallas arrived in Bridgeport:

None of those cuts were made thanks to Paul Vallas’s leadership.

2) He was able to get increases in city and state funding for Bridgeport Public Schools. His first full year as superintendent (2012-13) was the first in several years that the schools budget was not flat-funded.

3) He standardized the curriculum across the district so that students don’t lose learning time when they change school. The new curriculum is also aligned to the national “Common Core” standards that requires students to develop 21st century skills.

4) He got new textbooks to every school. Students in Bridgeport are taking home new textbooks for the first time in almost in 10 years.

5) He started the “Early College Program” so that Bridgeport high school students can have access to college by taking free classes at local universities.

6) He adopted and has begun to implement the new Bridgeport Parent Engagement Policy that was written by district parents in 2012.

7) He launched the “Good Schools Bridgeport Fund” to bring an additional $10 million into the Bridgeport Public Schools over the next 5 years This money will be used to recruit and train new teachers and leaders, enable more students to attend pre-school and provide money for programs like middle school sports and the college access partnerships. This money will be funded by private donors, not paid for by Bridgeport taxpayers.

8. He made a commitment to improving school safety by creating the “Safe Corridor Initiative.” In partnership with the Bridgeport Police Department, the U.S. Department Homeland Security and Bridgeport volunteers, the district will ensure that all students have safe routes both to and from school and that all of our schools are safe and secured.



  1. To parent leader:
    You are being fooled and manipulated.

    It is the same “reform” circus happening throughout our country in the poor cities. Ask yourself how are things going in Chicago, Philly and NOLA.

    At the last BOE meeting, Vallas says maybe these cities are not doing well (therefore he is acknowledging they’re not) because he is not there.

    There are three problems with that statement … first, as stated, he admits things are not going well in Philly, Chicago and NOLA, his old stomping grounds. Second, he is telling you his methods are not sustainable. Once he leaves, the chaos he created will not solve the problems on a long-term basis. Third, don’t you find this a little pompous and grandiose?

    Three major cities and their school systems are failing because Paul Vallas is no longer there? Why didn’t he stay long enough to ensure long-lasting results? Why does he pack up, rinse and repeat every 2-3 years? Maybe because this is not reform in the true sense of the word. Maybe because he knows when to get out to make another quick buck somewhere else. He reminds me of Harold Hill in The Music Man.

    Maybe some of you find him likeable … I think he is extremely narcissistic and manipulative. He knows how to “work the room.”

    You also have to wonder why he thinks bringing in more “elite” TFA is going to the solve the problem. More young inexperienced temporary interns with five weeks of training is what’s best for some of the neediest students? Really?

    You must pay a first-year salary and a TFA finders fee, which is more expensive than employing a graduate of a teacher education program who wants to begin a career in teaching and learning. 80% of the TFA’S will be gone in 2-3 years and you will be starting all over again with recruitment, training, evaluating, etc. Paul will be long gone by then.

    TFA also breeds teacher churn. Teacher churn is a way to deprofessionalize teaching. You reduce labor costs if you have them while they’re young … no family health insurance, no time to build up a pension. Reduce the labor costs and funnel the money elsewhere. And if teaching is reduced to test prep and testing then you really don’t need professionals anymore. A great teacher is compliant, confused and controlled.

    He is very good at draining the resources and funneling money to his corporate cronies. It appears his main motivation for staying now is to spite the people who do not worship him. He equates surviving in Bridgeport to his son surviving Afghanistan.

    He stays because no one will ever disparage his image and please please never ever forget it is “all about the kids.”

  2. Hmmm, interesting how these two comments use the same points the teachers unions always make. Stop referencing Vallas’ record in New Orleans and other places when you clearly don’t have the facts and it has nothing to do with what he’s done in Bridgeport. And by the way, last I checked New Orleans schools are still making gains:

    And why even bring up TFA out of nowhere, “Bridgeport Parent?” IF you really are a parent! Surprising how these talking points mirror those of national pro-union, anti-school reform bloggers. Think for yourselves for a change. And think about the kids who are suffering in this broken system you are trying so hard to protect!

    Kudos to the real parents out there taking a stand and supporting the improvements underway with Vallas.

    1. You are being snookered. RSD is dead last in the Louisiana ratings. The status quo is testing, testing, testing and Vallas just repeats the same old status-quo reforms everywhere he goes. He is not even original.

      Parents can be informed and not on the side of privatization. Check out parents across america … not all are buying the savior bs.

      Parents in NOLA were not happy with the Vallas circus. Yes, be concerned about the kids who have suffered and continue to suffer under the disaster as opportunity reform style invented by the big V.

      And thanks for posting AF or Excel.

    2. Oops not dead last but second to last; 61 out of 62. Go Paul.

      Fourth, later during the forum Ayers denied the goal of the charter school movement was to make money for corporations. This, however, is a fairy tale. Just last week, an expose from In the Public Interest was released with thousands of e-mails showing Jeb Bush’s pro-charter educational foundation was all about benefiting its corporate funders, not the children.

      The Failed RSD is not a miracle. It is only magic, a sleight-of-hand shell game run by corporate profiteers and their well-paid lackeys. The taxpayers, parents and school children of Louisiana deserve better than the Cowen Institute’s duplicitous spin.

      The Failed RSD, the Cowen Institute, John White, and Governor Jindal’s unconstitutional education “reform” package are a disgrace.

      Louisiana would do well to find a better approach to education “reform” and better people to lead our state.

      1. There is only one problem with the Louisiana Recovery District model. It does not work! In fact when Louisiana tried to expand its own Recovery District beyond the New Orleans school system, the result can only be described as a clear failure.
        After four years, out of the twelve schools taken over by the state RSD and converted to charters outside of New Orleans, all of them are still rated “F” and on average have declined slightly instead of improving. But not only have the schools declined academically, enrollment has dropped by an average of 39%. See the linked spreadsheet. So when Governor Jindal touts the success of parental choice, it must be recognized many parents are “choosing” to pull their children out of the State-sponsored choice charter schools!

  3. Dear parent leader,
    Point 1. Vallas closed $18 million gap without massive layoffs? Is that why my kid was in a class with over 40 kids until well past Columbus Day? Is that why my kid’s school didn’t have a guidance person until November? Is that why my kid’s school has a part-time speech teacher? Is that why my kid’s school has a part-time social worker? Is that why there has been a sub in a special Ed teacher’s room for the past 102 school days as opposed to a certified teacher? Is that why every time a teacher is absent and a sub is not available they burden the other teachers by overcrowding the classrooms?
    Point 2. He secured additional state funding. No, the powers that be sold their souls to the devil by surrendering their right to pick a superintendent.
    Point 3. He did standardize textbooks across the district. I will give credit where credit is due. But at what price, $10 million and counting. Illegal bid process. Taking a company out of bankruptcy because there was a prior relationship. Not ordering enough textbooks and burdening teachers students and administrators with the impossible task of implementing three new programs at once.
    Point 4. He bought new textbooks. The publisher was supposed to barcode them. They didn’t even though we paid for that service. There are not enough books for all students and they certainly aren’t going home with students.
    Point 5. He did not start the college classes. Bridgeport students have been taking classes for college credit for years. Vallas may have expanded the program but cannot take credit for starting it.
    Point 6. He adopted the parent engagement policy. We have had a parent center for years. We have had district parent committees for years. His program just got launched in February 2013.
    Point 7. Talk about conflict of interest how much of that money did the reverend get for his day care program/preschool?
    Point 8. Safe corridors. Good money spent on a bad idea. I am for student safety but even the very backers of this program admit it isn’t working.

  4. *** Thanks for sharing (Parents 4 Progress), it’s your thoughts rather than the usual political opinions that help make a difference when comparing some facts to fiction. More is needed from parents and teachers, especially those who live in Bpt. *** WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? ***

  5. Interesting how “Bridgeport Parent” just emerged on this site in the last two days. Thanks for your posts, BEA or Jonathan Pelto. IF you really are a parent, why haven’t you ever made these comments publicly at BOE meetings??? The meetings are recorded and play every week on public access TV (channel 79) and I’ve never heard such remarks coming from a parent. You’re not a parent, just pretending to be so as to push your status quo agenda of failing schools and ZERO accountability. We’ve tried it your way and it hasn’t worked so move out of the way and let people with SOLUTIONS do their work. Also, stop quoting BLOGS and start referencing some HARD NEWS articles. All you people quote is blogs because the FACTS are not on your side.

    1. As compared to your post:

      Keep your head in the sand AF, Excel, Josh T. … etc. … all of those links bring you to news articles, but I know they would be hard for you to bear. It is easier to believe and blame the unions … that is the status quo response when using the reform talking points. You’re good … you’ve got them down. I will give you that.

    2. Booster,
      I don’t know Bridgeport parent. I don’t know who they are or if they are a parent or not.
      I am a Bridgeport parent. I have had five children in the school system at any given time.
      I don’t quote blogs or headlines. I speak of my experiences with my children. I have been on the blog numerous times before when talking education. I read the blog daily I don’t often comment on other issues since I am not as familiar with them as I am with education.
      Perspective is everything. Just because someone has a different perspective than you does not mean it is a fabrication of the truth.
      The problem is some of the people on the blog are too pig-headed to stop and listen to someone with an opposite view.
      You have your perspective, I have mine and somewhere in the middle could be a viable solution.

  6. *** The entire Bpt school system, BOE, city government, unions, also parents and teachers have their heads in the sand, no? *** PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE FAILURES ***

  7. Joshua Thompson is paid out of city education funds even though he is on Finch’s staff. Maybe Ms. Martinez would like to explain this or is she too busy trying to break up more meetings held by opponents of Vallas.


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