"This is just one more example of Bridgeport politicians undermining democracy,” said Andre Baker, a Bridgeport City Councilor. “This is an ongoing process with an important outcome and calling a special meeting at the last minute is a blatant attempt to keep parents and citizens out of the process."Former State Senator Ed Gomes, who represented Bridgeport, said "as soon as questions were raised about Paul Vallas' performance and credentials, a special meeting was called so quickly that it can only be designed to confuse everyone. This follows a clear pattern of anti-democratic actions in Bridgeport, starting with the illegal takeover of the Board of Education, and continuing with Mayor Finch trying to grab control of the Board for himself."
Vallas will pull down $234,000 a year plus whatever he gets for his outside consulting in Haiti and other school districts, plus a car, plus travel and expenses to conferences and seminars.
Vallas, who still holds no certification to be a superintendent in Connecticut, was his old pompous, arrogant self as he responded to growing community criticism. He told the board he came to Bridgeport to help the city's schools, not to have his reputation trashed.
"Since the intent is to find any opportunity to attack and discredit me, I would like the opportunity to respond when certain outrageous statements are made."He then went on to compare himself to Michael Jordan:
"(U.S. Secretary of Education) Arne Duncan would not be qualified to be superintendent in this district. (Former New York City Schools Chancellor) Joel Klein would not be qualified," Vallas said. "States have archaic laws. That is like saying Michael Jordan can't coach basketball because he doesn't have teacher certification."
First, Vallas is no Michael Jordan and their names should never be used again in the same sentence. Second, as a working Chicago high school basketball coach, I can affirm that as of this year, Micheal would have to become certified and pass a series of tests before he could coach in the public league. And he would have to come out of pocket for the $150 certification process. as well, even though he would make less than $1,000/year as a coach. Finally, just because you're MJ, that doesn't mean you'd make a good coach/teacher. There have been several great players who failed miserably at coaching because they didn't know how to teach.
Our condolences to the people, school teachers and students of Bridgeport. We feel your pain here in Chicago.