No credential, no job for Vallas

Once superintendent in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, reformer Paul Vallas is unqualified to lead the Bridgeport, Connecticut school district, because he lacks an administrative credential, a Superior Court judge ruled. She said Vallas can’t stay in the job while appealing.

The state board of education created an independent study program for Vallas to meet the credential requirements, which normally require 13 months of study at a Connecticut college or university. The judge rejected the board’s alternative.

Like a number of urban superintendents, Vallas isn’t a professional educator. “A longtime state legislative aide and budget director for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, he took over the job of running the Chicago schools in 1997 after the state put them under Daley’s control,” notes Governing. Narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary for governor of Illinois in 2002,” he was hired to run Philadelphia schools after Pennsylvania took them over. Then he went to New Orleans to run the Recovery School District.

“I think it’s bizarre that we’d allow paper credentials from programs with lackluster reputations disqualify a candidate with an extensive track record,” writes Rick Hess. “Seems to me like it makes a lot more sense to just judge Vallas on what he’s done, his skills, and his temperament. I think Vallas is an impressive guy and that it’d be a bad thing if he were actually pushed out of office.”

Normally hostile to reformers, Diane Ravitch published a defense of Vallas by a commenter who worked for him in Chicago.

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  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    Schools are in the business of providing credentials. What sort of message does it send when a school system judges a potential hire on the basis of “what he’s done” rather than the degrees he has?

  2. The school district didn’t do this, a judge ruled that he lacked the required credential to take the job in the first place, but I guess he figured that the judge would look the other way.

    In order for him to go back to work, he’ll have to complete the 12-13 month course at a university or college which offers the credential.

    What I don’t understand is that with all his experience, didn’t he look at the job requirements/necessary licenses before
    applying for the job itself? (blink)

    • Mark Roulo says:

      The school board hiring him agreed to waive the requirement. The judge has ruled that the school board can’t do this.

  3. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Why the @#*(& can’t we get a rule-observant, law-following Judge like this on things that *matter*?