Renowned school reformer Paul Vallas has won his battle in court to be certified as a superintendent in Connecticut. But, alas, it's a hollow victory.
Mr. Vallas is returning to Illinois, where he once headed Chicago's school district and was the city's budget chief, to run for lieutenant governor.
Bridgeport's school board will shortchange the city's children if it doesn't find someone very much like Mr. Vallas to take his place.
State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor introduced Mr. Vallas to Bridgeport's poorly performing schools a little less than two years ago, after the nationally known reformer had wrought a few miracles — raising test scores and closing budget gaps — in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Stabilizing the district's fiscal situation and other Vallas changes were beginning to work in Bridgeport, too, but the hard-charging new superintendent made enemies. Even a supporter called him "a bull in a china shop." Paranoid opponents feared, despite scant evidence, that he was trying to "privatize" public education.
Two Bridgeport residents went to court alleging that Mr. Vallas was not qualified under Connecticut law to be a superintendent; Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis agreed and ordered him to vacate the position.
But a week ago, the state Supreme Court ordered the case dismissed, ruling that such certification decisions are the province of the education commissioner and the State Board of Education, not the courts.
Bridgeport's school board will have much to answer for if it rejects reformers in its search for a new superintendent.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun