Dueling Paul Vallas Petitions

Vallas on horse
School board president Ken Moales says Paul Vallas is like a fireman. Mayor Bill Finch says he's a knight on a white horse. This Vallas image is making the rounds on Twitter.

One petition wants Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas to stay, the other wants him sayonara. Ultimately, his welcome in Bridgeport will likely be decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

On one side is Jessica Martinez, a staffer with the education reform group Excel Bridgeport that supports Vallas. On the other side is Tammy Boyle, an elected member of the Parent Advisory Council, aligned with the Connecticut Working Families Party that has three of its members on the elected school board.

From Martinez:

Bridgeport Public schools have been failing our children for over 30 years. Our children are not pushed to high expectations. We have phenomenal teachers that need support, amazing parents and parent leader that need support and to continue to grow. We need to hold the leaders of this district accountable for not producing the quality education our children need. Board of Ed, Superintendent, Teachers and Parents must partner in their children’s education. Paul Vallas is not the end all be all for Bridgeport but he is stirring things up and creating the change we need in the school system. Irrelevant people affiliated with political organizations/parties keep obstructing the progress in our schools. What is the alternative? What is their solution? Right, they don’t have one, other than keeping the failing system and accepting the status quo. I will NOT accept that for my children, family and friends. Let’s do something about it, let’s speak up and let our voices be heard. A house divided cannot stand, a house united will conquer!!! We need Paul Vallas, we need better schools, NOW!

Pro-Vallas petition here.

From Boyle:

The city’s plans to use your tax dollars to appeal the court ruling that Paul Vallas is unqualified to be Superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools, instead of educating children is appalling. That’s why Tammy Boyle, a Bridgeport school parent and elected member of the Parent Advisory Council, has started a petition demanding tax dollars go to education, not defending an unqualified superintendent.

Anti-Vallas petition here.



  1. There are two forces at war and I am not content with the story told by either camp. Just as many of you, I was frustrated by the system deterioration and dismayed by the BOE “forum for doing the business of educating youth.” The City administration was not supportive in its local funding. The BRBC took almost six years to perform a two-year audit. None of this smacks of great public accountability for so important a task as providing education for the youth of the community.

    The State takeover went to the courts and was deemed premature and unlawful. We had a chance to use our vote last fall and not only elected some BOE but also voted NO on the Charter changes. Paul Vallas’ lack of certification was called into question and has had a ruling though now is on appeal.

    I have watched the new superintendent when he has outlined his plan of reform, his plan for financing and his action to set the changes in force. He has done quite well so far on these measures in turns of moving ideas towards delivery in my opinion.

    No one has been more concerned about budgeting, authorization, oversight, reporting and actual expenditure of City or BOE funds than me if OIB postings or appearances before the City Council at public speaking sessions is measured. In that regard I would ask Tammy Boyle, Teacher Union Reps and others to raise the issue of full City funding of the 2014 “minimum budget requirement” to the fore at the next CC meeting. Broad support of reversing the City mistake in not placing the $3.3 Million MBR in the City budget originally needs a correction. That is the larger issue, the systemic issue. Parents of any persuasion were not present and not speaking loud and clear to the City Council. This is necessary to provide real info to the representatives from the Districts. Time will tell.

  2. His newest claim … poor Paul. No one appreciates his plundering:
    “I’m not Rahm Emanuel badmouthing teachers, saying teachers get raises and kids get the shaft,” Vallas said. “I’m going to try to fix things without bloodying people.”

    The court case, he said, was instigated by the Working Families Party, a union-funded group opposed to the state’s school takeover.

    “This is just another attempt to block us from instituting reforms,” he said. “There’s a lot of intra-district conflict going on, and I’m caught in the middle.”

    As for the course at the center of the case, Vallas said state law required a superintendent to be certified in Connecticut, but allow the state board of education to determine certification requirements. Vallas’s course was approved by the board, he said.

    “Measuring effectiveness by seat time is a little silly,” Vallas said. “What am I supposed to do, run Bridgeport and sit in a class for 13 months?”

    Vallas said he expects to run the district until sometime in the next school, which will require him to negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement. After that?

    “I go in, fix the system, I move on to something else.”

    Would that something else be the financially broke state of Illinois, where Vallas still has a home, and where he ran for governor in 2002?

    “Let’s just say I’m still registered to vote (there),” he said.
    www .nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Paul-Vallas–213999671.html

  3. To Jessica Martinez … anyone who disagrees with her should have no say in the school system. She and her Excel people tried to break up a peaceful demonstration demanding that Vallas be removed. Time and time again the people from Excel have shown themselves to be a bunch of loudmouth bullies, which is not surprising considering they back up Finch and Moales who is himself a bully … and unless anything has changed in the last two months, go to any Board of Ed meeting and you can see for yourself.

  4. Allison Schuck Sirowich · Beacon Falls, Connecticut
    The only victims are the school systems this man has looted and left in shambles. Mr. Vallas is only a target of fed up parents, teachers, citizens and students who don’t appreciate their schools becoming test factories while forking out tons of cash to this grifter and his friends. It’s sad how someone can be so arrogant that he thinks he should not play by the same rules as everyone else? Too busy to take appropriate classes while running schools? Awwww. Maybe he should ask the millions of people who have worked full time time in various fields (including education) while taking classes how they did it.

    Nicholas Banks · Top Commenter
    He’s some target. The target is as big as Chicago, Haiti, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and now Bridgeport. Of course, no one needs qualifications anymore, just hire a corporate crook who travels from city to city looting school children. Chicago: we wish you kept your great reformer in state. But don’t worry, he’ll be back soon …

    1. You missed two:
      Matt Bracksieck
      Connecticut laws were changed so all Vallas had to do was to enroll in a program specially designed for him within a year. He chose not to do it, showing either contempt for CT law or an inability to fulfill the one requirement he had to fulfill. The court document points out the program designed for him was insufficient (he’s never taken an education course) and he was shown special treatment by the State BOE and the Commissioner of Education. Ask the people of Chicago, New Orleans, and Philadelphia if they are happy he “reformed” them. They’re welcome to have him back.

      Alan Beck:
      1. Why didn’t Vallas simply follow the legislative EZ Pass that was created just for him to avoid traditional certification?
      2. Where is the proof the WFP or any party instigated this suit?

      We are in perilous times when carpetbaggers can come to town, set up shop complete with smoke and mirrors, dupe the people into believing they have their best interest at heart and all the while stealing the money and heart from them.

  5. beware, look I don’t care where you live, all I know is you have been giving us information about Paul Vallas that has the spotlight on him. This last article tells me he wants to run for something in Illinois. Thanks, beware.

    1. What does it actually matter where I live? All CT residents pay for this. And one doesn’t have to live in Bridgeport to pay taxes to the city.

      Silly argument put forth by the Vallas lovers when they have nothing else. Yes, he is appealing to his state media outlets now since his days are numbered.

      By the way, anytime.

  6. In the article linked above Vallas says:
    The court case, he said, was instigated by the Working Families Party, a union-funded group opposed to the state’s school takeover.

    “This is just another attempt to block us from instituting reforms,” he said. “There’s a lot of intra-district conflict going on, and I’m caught in the middle.”

    This is not accurate. Why is he lying? WFP did not instigate the court case. Is he desperately trying to deflect and look like the victim? Looks like he is appealing to his hometown for a new gig.

    Pathetic Paul, pathetic!
    www .nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Paul-Vallas–213999671.html

  7. And this … guess he can juggle multiple tasks and jobs when he wants to (getting $$$$$$ rather than spending). NO problem working in three countries, but he can’t drive to sit in a chair and take a class like other lowly humans.

    Vallas, the $500,000 savior of disaster-torn Chile:
    www .nola.com/education/index.ssf/2011/02/recovery_school_district_super_1.html

    So this guy says he can run three school districts, NOLA, Haiti, and Chile, but he can’t sit through an Ed leadership program, which was designed just for him?
    www .nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Paul-Vallas–213999671.html

  8. *** CHANGE IS NOT ALWAYS WELCOMED BUT SOMETIMES NEEDED *** No one likes changes pushed down their throats, especially union workers who are used to having things a certain way and don’t have to live in the town they work in or pay taxes there! On the other side of the coin, interfering politics for the sake of the “Benjamins” and not “Education” can get quite old real fast. But if Vallas does not have the CT certification even though overlooked and still passed by a state board for the job, did he have it in New Orleans, Chicago or Philly where he worked? And now that he’s here will 50% of his time be fighting in the courts to be able to do his job? Will the remainder of his time be a political waste of costly taxpayer money with nothing to gain in the end but more finger pointing? The city schools, past, present and what appears to be looking like in the near future all spell failure right now and all sides pro or con are to blame! The only final solution would be a temp trial “independent” state board and school budget free of city-side and union politics overall. But in the end, those who are responsible for the education of public school children, staff, parents, teachers, etc. must be held accountable to do their jobs! *** END ZOMBIE PUBLIC EDUCATION ***

    1. Education has had nothing but change. We are going on THIRTEEN years of high-stakes testing, assessment, new tests, new evaluations, new curriculum, new materials, new schedules, new supervisors. We have had NOTHING but change and and changes to changes without even fully implementing and assessing the first change. Vallas is the king of spinarounds and zombie takeovers … he invented them. Catch up!

      1. *** Paper, curriculum and test changes are not real changes, neither is “more money” if it keeps getting spent on the “wrong things!” Getting the politics out of school business is change, making those responsible is change, independent board and school budget is change, making parents and students responsible is change, changing school policies for safer schools for staff and students is change, etc. … *** Been Caught Up and Passed! ***

  9. The money is being funneled away from schools for test prep, testing companies, testing materials, Common core national standards, CCS paraphernalia, data mining systems, training for evaluation procedures, training for data gathering systems … the federal government under Arne and Obama (the puppets for Broad and Gates) are heavily involved in our schools.

    The money is being funneled away from local communities which is why class size increases, libraries close, sped services are watered down, art and music are cut, guidance staff is reduced and edupreneurs and “reformers” rake in the dough.

    It is happening nationally. Read and become informed:
    You know the clichés I mean: Nothing’s more important than our children. Kids come first. It takes a village. “I believe the children are our future/teach them well and let them lead the way …”

    The playbook.

    A conscience is a tricky thing. It’s tough to live with yourself when you’re shortchanging our kids and our future, no matter how many times you play that old song. What you need is an infusion of “free market” voodoo to convince you–and others–that depriving children of educational resources is for their own good.

    Enter Michelle Rhee and Rahm Emanuel and the rest of their ilk, using the same playbook that’s been deployed against Social Security, Medicare, and other vital government services. It goes like this:

    Pretend that “budgets” are the real crisis–but never mention that corporations and the wealthy are paying less in taxes than ever before in modern history.

    Continued here:
    www .huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/fighting-for-our-classroo_b_3432508.html

  10. A state takeover of your BOE is change …
    A charter question to eliminate an elected BOE is change …
    A superintendent who fails to follow established credentialing procedures is change …
    Nominating BOE candidates for reelection after they voted to disband their own elected positions is change …
    Having college students acting as mentors replacing skilled staff is change …
    Eliminating the only qualified drug counselor is change …
    Change being used as a synonym for improvements is change!!!
    Change does not necessarily mean better, just different. No, Mojo?

    1. What is really puzzling is the Vallas supporters who don’t think credentialing is important … by that logic then a HS diploma should mean nothing … my BA and MBA should mean nothing … I find that logic very insulting.

    2. *** Big difference between negative changes and positive change as mentioned, Bob! In the end, “change” for the sake of mere money and power disguised as doing it for the kids is negative. Has this present or past BOE made any real positive changes that have been of benefit for better education? *** NO ***

  11. UGH!

    I’m again at a loss!
    This is a Democratic city built by unions, yet a privatizing group is trying to work the unions out.

    The courts, democracy at its finest has ruled someone is not certified to be in their position.

    If this DEMOCRATIC city wants Republican rules, vote for Rick Torres when he runs for mayor for the umpteenth time.

  12. We all need to give pause when we hear the terms ‘reform’ or ‘reformers’ used.
    Paul Vallas was hired to bring about change. He is a change agent. Bureaucracies resist change. It is a threat to their turf. It is normal human individual and group behavior.
    Change agents need leverage. In the American corporate world, facilities can be closed and production move to China. That cannot be done in the case of a school system, so the change agent must bring about change in small increments. Paul Vallas has supporters and skeptics. The supporters hear the message. The skeptics look at long-term results. Change takes time.

    In my opinion, those who have labeled themselves as ‘reformers’ have failed. Stefan Pryor brought Paul Vallas to Bridgeport but failed to comply with established guidelines that had to be enforced in court.
    Carmen Lopez has been labeled by some as opposed to ‘reform.’ In my opinion, her actions have contributed to defining the rules that must be observed.
    Are the teacher and administrator unions entrenched? Yes.
    Are the so-called ‘education reformers’ skilled change agents? As JML says, time will tell.

    1. Chicago, Philly and NoLA have already told us. Create chaos and conflict. Pit people against each other … loot and plunder while the community is shattering even further. This is the national playbook, see Sirota video below.

      This is not change or reform. It is a ruse. See here: how the privatization movement is destroying public education.

      In this post, Richard Eskow describes the manipulation of public opinion by people who call themselves reformers.

      The attack on public education, he writes, is an attack on children and our nation’s future.

      The playbook has been carefully planned and orchestrated. And the media fell for it, with few exceptions. Instead of calling them “reformers,” he says, they should be known as “demolishers.”

      Here is a synopsis of the playbook:

    2. Is life in the city getting better? I guess it depends on whether or not you have plenty of bucks:
      www .epi.org/resources/budget/
      A previous poster stated “…the future development of our city is totally dependent on the quality of our schools.” My thought is the opposite is true, the development of our school system is dependent on the quality of life in our city. As well as a profit maker for certain interests (thanks to Sue for this informative link:
      www .dailykos.com/story/2013/02/15/1187346/-So-why-do-hedge-funds-so-favor-charter-schools
      ), is the privatization debate part of a diversion from the more basic issues, such as lack of progress in quality of life (economic and otherwise), the continuation of the political morass that has eternally plagued BPT, and the increasing economic inequality between the top 10% and everyone else? Is Bridgeport (whose tax rates make escape by selling one’s home problematic) like a quarantined area in Fairfield County, a county always listed as among the richest in the country? Debt slavery seems to be encouraged by the financial system, whether from instilled desire for things one can’t afford and high credit card interest (compared to bank deposit interest), penalty rates (and overdraft fees) imposed at the drop of a hat, or necessity, when expenses outrace next week’s paycheck. Student debt takes it to the limit, especially when parents see higher education and charter schools leading to college as the only way out from a life trapped in a poor city. Colleges and universities continually increase their rates even as the degrees they award become less useful. With all those $15,000 scholarships for a $40,000 (or more) year at school comes a pre-approved invitation to borrow the rest of the money.
      If you missed it previously: The Student Loan Scheme: Gateway Drug to Debt Slavery
      www .collegescholarships.org/research/student-loans/

  13. School board President Ken Moales says Paul Vallas is like a fireman; please, Moales needs to stick to preaching because he knows NOTHING about firefighters. Firefighters work in teams and collectively as a group and you will never hear a firefighter say he did this or they did that. There is no I in the word team.

      1. Ron, I don’t read hate for Carmen Lopez from anna, although she can be edgy at times. I read a lot of hate toward Vallas from some. Some people think Vallas is a big improvement from what the city had leading schools. I think the jury is still out on that, he’s not been on the job long enough. Carmen Lopez obviously does not think he’s an improvement. If an appeals court overturns the decision will anti Vallas folks say Lopez was wrong on the law? It would be intriguing, however, if Carmen Lopez decided to run for public office, be it a school board seat or something else. I’m not sure Carmen wants to face the fire she’d receive from Finch et al. if she placed her name on the ballot.

        1. They rewrote regulations and designed a quickie 13-month course just for Vallas. He blew it off and didn’t even enroll. So then they finagle new wording to rewrite what was already written into the law.
          Why couldn’t he just follow the procedures set up for HIM?
          If you read the article posted above he was able to work in three countries (USA, Chile, Haiti–Where he was making $$$, but he couldn’t juggle little ol’ Bridgeport and a few classes at UConn? He doesn’t feel the need to pursue the degree because he will be out of here in a few.

          If you are not in the schools, you have no clue what “improvements” have been made. And what if Carmen has no intentions of running for any office? Maybe she could give a rat’s butt. I doubt she is intimidated by Finch. His love for Paul may be the end of him.

          1. beware, if Vallas had followed the procedures as you suggest would you be okay with him serving as school chief? As for Carmen, four years ago she was willing to accept the endorsement from the “political machine” she now often castigates, but was not willing to challenge it in a primary.

          2. beware, you’d better believe Carmen Lopez IS NOT intimidated by Finch, in fact it is the other way around, Finch does not want Carmen Lopez involved in anything.

  14. anna, get over it, stop hating. Carmen Lopez’ victory here is much bigger than if she had got elected to the BOE, plus the court has said Vallas does NOT meet the merit that is required for the position. Now who is upset now? You are the one who is upset and now you want to hate on Carmen Lopez and I do understand because she fought the entire system and guess what anna, she WON and your side got their ASS kicked and are upset, get over it.


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