Connecticut lawsuit charges that Paul Vallas is unqualified to head a Connecticut school district... Local board of education chief responds with absurd endorsement of Vallas as 'Beyond qualified'

Could it be that one of the longest running corporate scams in corporate "school reform" will soon come to a screeching halt? Back in the days when Enron and World Com were the darlings of stock pickers and the "" bubble was still heading towards bursting, another corporate fraud was brewing in Chicago. Following the institution of "Mayoral Control" and the supposed "business model" of school governance in Chicago, former City Hall hack (he had been budget director) named Paul Vallas became the first "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, appointed by then Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Former Chicago schools "Chief Executive Officer" Paul G. Vallas argued (above) that his contract to head the Bridgeport Connecticut schools should be extended. Vallas is making a quarter million dollars a year as head of the Connecticut school district. Photo courtesy of the Bridgeport Post.The Vallas appointment was the beginning of the ruination and privatization of the third largest school system in the USA that continues to this day. Although the Business Roundtable and its local representative on the Chicago Board of Education (banker Norm Bobins) claimed that what was needed was a schools chief with business experience, all of Vallas's experience had been as a political hack working for Illinois Democrats. But thanks to the uncritical Chicago media acceptance of the mythologies of corporate "school reform," Vallas's version of himself became the norm (for a time). Robes magazine even considered nicknaming him "Chainsaw Paul" for his ruthless ability to cut "waste" — until the legend of "Chainsaw Al Dunlap" (Sunbeam and other corporate scams) forced the retirement of the nickname.

Vallas continued in Chicago until his own ego got in the way of a bigger one: that of the man who had created him. After he was forced out of the job in June 2001 by then Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Vallas took his media-centered version of corporate "school reform" on the road, thanks to the Business Roundtable and a series of governors and mayors. First Vallas went to Philadelphia; then to New Orleans; and for a time as an "international school reform consultant" to Chile and Haiti. He had a private group called "Paul Vallas... [something or other]..." featuring some of his old Chicago cronies. And it was lucrative for more than a decade.

Finally, even most of the nation's big city mayors and large state governors (even those still under the thumb of the mythologies of the Business Roundtable) took the time to check the Vallas record and ask some critical questions about the Vallas qualifications. Examinations of the resume and record of a man who had scammed his way across three states was finally being done at the level that would be done had he applied for a job as a cashier at Wendy's.

And so, 11 years after leaving Chicago to save the schools that needed reforming across the USA, Paul G. Vallas landed in Bridgeport, Connecticut. And someone finally noticed that like so many others, this emperor has no clothes.

Now a lawsuit is challenging Vallas's right to the job of school superintendent in the Connecticut city.

Here is the story from the Connecticut Post:

Lawsuit challenges Vallas' qualifications. Linda Conner Lambeck. Updated 9:49 pm, Monday, April 1, 2013

BRIDGEPORT -- A lawsuit claiming Paul Vallas lacks the proper certification to serve as the city's school superintendent was filed Monday [April 1, 2013].

Carmen L. Lopez, a city taxpayer and retired judge, along with Deborah Reyes-Williams, a city resident and mother of four schoolchildren, filed the lawsuit at state Superior Court in Bridgeport.

The lawsuit alleges Lopez and Reyes-Williams would suffer irreparable harm by entering a second year with an unqualified superintendent.

The plaintiffs want Vallas removed from the job. They also want the three-year contract he was granted last month by a 5-4 majority of the school board to be thrown out.

Vallas, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and the city school board are all named as defendants in the suit.

Attorney Norman Pattis, representing the plaintiffs, said it is unusual for a suit to be filed that doesn't ask for monetary damages, but rather to challenge whether someone is fit to hold a job. Pattis is seeking a quick hearing date, but he doesn't know when one will be scheduled.

"We want to get it as soon as we can get it," Pattis said. "What we are saying is that this is contrary to law."

Vallas was made interim superintendent in December 2011 by a state-appointed city school board as it tried to erase a multimillion-dollar budget gap and repair a school system with some of the lowest test scores in the state.

Vallas, who previously served as superintendent of schools in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, has been acting under a probationary certification in Connecticut, which Pryor extended through Dec. 31, 2013. The move came after the state Supreme Court ordered the return of an elected city school board to Bridgeport.

A new state law allows an acting superintendent who successfully completes a school leadership program, approved by the state and offered at a public or private institution of higher learning in the state, to receive a certification waiver. A semester-long program, created just for Vallas, has been developed at the University of Connecticut. Vallas is enrolled in the program for this spring.

The suit claims that Vallas' original appointments were illegal and any proper probationary time period for Vallas has been exhausted. It also says the school leadership program Vallas is in has not been approved by the state Board of Education and Vallas is not eligible for a waiver.

State Board of Education Chairman Allan Taylor said Monday he does not believe his board approved the program, but he's also not sure that would have been necessary.

"That would be the sort of thing the commissioner would do, especially since it is for one person," Taylor said.

Vallas and Pryor could not be reached for comment. School Board Chairman Kenneth Moales, reached Monday, said he had not seen or heard of the lawsuit.

"Vallas is beyond qualified," said Moales, who first came to the board as a state-appointed board member before winning a vacant seat during a special election last September.

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