With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, May 8, 2015

Finally, Vallas appears on the crime scene.

The Synesi/SUPES Connection 
Once S-T reporters finally discovered the Synesi/SUPES connection in the current federal investigation of CPS contracting, I couldn't understand why they missed the obvious connection between Synesi/SUPES founder Gary Soloman and Chicago's first schools CEO, Paul Vallas. For some reason, no reporter would dare mention Vallas' name. This even though he had a direct connection to Synesi and was a central player in Synesi/SUPES expansion into other school districts including Chicago.

I can almost understand the omission. Vallas tried to keep his ties to Soloman and Synesi a secret, especially once the investigation began, even while setting the table for their consulting contracts in district after district. Then Soloman came out and claimed"he had used Vallas’ name without permission and it was a mistake.”

Sorry -- It always takes me a while to stop rolling on the floor with laughter when I hear stuff like that.

I kept badgering the reporters on Twitter. Sometimes it takes a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to get their attention:

Finally in this morning's S-T we find the following. Credit reporters Lauren Fitzpatrick, Dan Mihalopoulos, and Fran Spielman.
 [Former CPS CEO, J.C.] Brizard is not the only former top CPS executive Solomon knew.
Paul Vallas, who was former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s first schools chief, said he met Solomon about 10 years ago, when Vallas led Philadelphia’s public schools.
Vallas said lawyers for the Philadelphia district sent Solomon a cease-and-desist letter because Solomon’s consulting company at the time boasted of holding “the exclusive rights to Paul Vallas’ model” for education reform. “He apologized and dropped it from his website,” Vallas said...
Another Solomon company, Synesi Associates, worked in Louisiana while Vallas was the top official in New Orleans. On the Synesi website, the company says it participated in “the successful implementation” of Vallas’ goals and led efforts that landed a $10 million grant from a private foundation.
Those assertions and other by Synesi are vast exaggerations, Vallas said. “He played no role in policy development,” Vallas said of Solomon.
See how they run.

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