Dynamo

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.

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Comments

  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    They will get him for sexual harassment or child porn. The Ed Estab has worked too long to get rid of all this to let one man bring it all back.

  2. Education isn’t rocket science? That will be news to the thousands of experts at our nation’s hallowed halls of teacher-preparation.

  3. Bill Leonard says:

    Hmm…From the sound of it, this guy has far too many sensible ideas to last very long. I agree, it’s a matter of time before the education establishment finishes him off.

  4. He’s succeeded elsewhere, was widely praised, and seems to have lots of support in his new job. Unless he damages his health, he’ll succeed in Philadelphia too. You guys need to dial down your cynicism a notch.

  5. Mark Odell says:

    Michael wrote: You guys need to dial down your cynicism a notch.

    We will, just as soon as our suspicions are proved wrong (and by all means feel free).

  6. Mark, do you have a time frame in mind for proving your suspicions wrong, and what would suffice to do so?

  7. Mark Odell says:

    Mark, do you have a time frame in mind for proving your suspicions wrong,

    No, it’s open-ended; whenever suspicions are proved wrong is fine by me. I hope he does succeed.

    and what would suffice to do so?

    As you said, his success in Philadelphia too.

    Of course you realize that as soon as he leaves his Philly job, whether successful or not, that event resets the Suspicion Scoreboard[tm] to its default level ;-).

  8. Heh. Seriously, what would constitute success?

  9. Mark Odell says:

    Seriously, what would constitute success?

    You wrote: He’s succeeded elsewhere, was widely praised, and seems to have lots of support in his new job. Unless he damages his health, he’ll succeed in Philadelphia too.

    Since you appear to know more than I do about his success in previous positions (I’ll take your word for it, provisionally), then whatever that was would constitute success, again, and that’s good enough for me. Seriously.

Trackbacks

  1. Straight Talk from Philly’s Vallas

    From the Washington Post, by way of Joanne Jacobs, some straight talk from Philly schools chief Paul Vallas: “It’s not rocket science,” he insists. Balance the books. Demand high academic standards and strict accountability systems. Zero tolerance for …