Philadelphia Superintendent Paul Vallas is an education dynamo, says a very favorable Washington Post profile.
Lanky and rumpled, the 50-year-old Vallas has a down-to-earth vision for the future of public education in America. “It’s not rocket science,” he insists. Balance the books. Demand high academic standards and strict accountability systems. Zero tolerance for troublemakers. Smaller class sizes. More after-school programs. Let a hundred experiments bloom. Replicate what works, and junk what doesn’t.
Vallas streamlined operations at district headquarters and renegotiated contracts, saving enough money to hire more teachers and renovate schools. His next step is to standardize the curriculum, expand after-school programs and improve the testing system. Philadelphia’s public schools are now competing with privately managed schools to see which can improve student performance most effectively.