VALLAS WATCH: Critics begin to focus on the two decades-long record of racism and corporate stooging leading to the Vallas candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 2014

One of the most delightful graphical interpretations of Pat Quinn's pick for lieutenant governor came out on the Web at the blog of Fred Klonsky on the morning of June 12, 2014. It's well worth sharing, and also as a launching for the weekly VALLAS WATCH feature which will be posted here at from now until the November 2014 election. We need to remind ourselves that Pat Quinn's selection of Paul Vallas, out of all the hundreds of people living in Illinois who would have done a decent job as lieutenant governor, was a calculated and cynical decision, dictated in part by Quinn's paymasters in the plutocracy. (The URL for the cartoon for those who can't get our links is:

The cartoon savoring the facts of the career of Paul Vallas that appears on Fred Klonsky's blog on June 12, 2014. The URL for the blog is let's begin with a summary that might be called "Some of the racism of the Paul Vallas record.'

I won't be voting for Pat Quinn again not only because of his actual record, but because of his willingness to take orders from his plutocratic paymasters, save Paul Vallas from political oblivion, and then try to talk his way out of the problem he created for himself by appealing to the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates based on the sole fact that he is NOT BRUCE RAUNER.

The Vallas thing was bad enough, and then Quinn voted for the undermining of the Minicipal Employees Pension Fund of Chicago without even trying to provide for the future funding that will be needed.

For anyone who has amnesia, I'll be posting a VALLAS WATCH story once every week or so for the next six months.

Following his frenetic and somewhat crazy six years (1995 - 2001) as "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, Paul Vallas became an international functionary -- paid very well -- to do the destructive work of corporate "school reform" as point man and with a group of equally well paid followers. After beginning his career in that work here in Chicago (1995 - 2001) and wearing out his welcome (he was caught making fun of former Mayor Richard M. Daley behind Daley's back), the Business Roundtable took Vallas's privatization and charterization and union busting show on the road: Philadelphia; New Orleans; Haiti; Chile; then Bridgeport.

It was in Bridgeport that democracy finally caught up with Paul Vallas, in the form of the Working Families Party and the facts. Vallas and the city's plutocrats tried and failed to push in "mayoral control". And by the 2012 - 2013 school year, Paul Vallas's "educator" career was finally finished.

During his heydays, he had been very well paid and camouflaged for helping destroy all those school systems.

And then, on orders of his plutocratic paymasters, Pat Quinn pulled Vallas "back home" and saved Vallas's virtually criminal neoliberal career as one of the masters of the game called corporate "school reform". Pat Quinn didn't even have the courtesy to call his key supporters (e.g., Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers Union) before letting people know he had picked Vallas. Just about everyone heard about it in the media. My first response: "This has to be The Onion".

So now begins VALLAS WATCH, which will be historical fun and may turn into a book about how neoliberal corporate "school reform" was foisted on so many places in the United States and the racist tolls it has taken. Chicago and Philadelphia (which ousted Vallas for the corruption he foisted) were the apprenticeship. New Orleans, where that neoliberal racist project of Vallas and his paymasters, destroyed the most powerful Black-led union in the State of Louisiana and resulted in a "public" school system that is now virtually all charter schools.

Here is a partial summary...

The layers of racism in the career of Paul Vallas begin with the "reconstitutions" he started in 1997 against schools like Englewood High School. Thanks to Vallas's friends at the Sun-Times, Englewood was subjected to the first show trial of a "failing school." That show trial was featured in the pages of the Sun-Times, and it served as the template for those that were to follow. During the years of those show trials, well paid "hearing officers," the most infamous of whom is Frederick Bates (who did the 1997 Englewood trial) made hundreds of thousands of dollars for rubber stamping the official version of reality and ignoring all of the professional research ("reconstitution" had already failed by 1997, as was documented in the research) and the facts brought before the hearing by people from the local schools.

The show trials of the Vallas era were just like the show trials Chicago just saw, 17 years later, in 2014, against Gresham, Dvorak and McNair elementary schools.

By the time he got to New Orleans, Paul Vallas had already destroyed the lives' work of thousands of teachers and the lives of tens of thousands of children in Chicago and Philadelphia, while paving the golden road for his cronies. (One of the reasons they ousted him from Philadelphia was that he was bringing in Cozette Buckney a couple of days now and then as a "consultant" and she got a swank hotel room plus that rented Firebird...).

But New Orleans was special, because the United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO) was the most powerful black-led union in Louisiana prior to its being destroyed by corporate "reform" and massive charterization. The history of the great work of the AFT local in New Orleans went all the way back to the days when New Orleans hotels were still racially segregated and the leadership of the AFT Black Caucus had to organize a major challenge when AFT planned to hold its national convention in New Orleans more than 50 years ago.

Yes, the amazing record of Paul Vallas is odious. But a special feature of the Vallas record is its relentless yet overwhelmingly hypocritical racism. He'd always have a well paid Black assistant around to provide the thinnest camouflage for his racist attacks on public schools, unions, and the children public schools are supposed to serve. And now Pat Quinn has brought Vallas back from oblivion, on orders of the Business Roundtable and others in the plutocracy, to rub our noses in it?! The great thing is that it gives us a chance to revisit the Vallas history and the complete record, from the days he was working as Richard M. Daley's "Budget Director" (read, clout person to distribute the benefits to City Council serviles) and became the first "business" "Chief Executive Officer of a major American urban mostly poor and minority public school system. For that historical opportunity, Quinn deserves a thank you. But only when people are ready to pay attention to all the facts, from Chicago and Philadelphia to New Orleans and Haiti to Chile and Bridgeport.


June 20, 2014 at 8:59 AM

By: Jonathan Pelto

Vallas Watch

Having watched the destruction Vallas brought to Bridgeport, Connecticut and the damage that remains ---- you can count on us to contribute to your Vallas Watch Blogs. Do not be deceived in any way - Vallas is as close to the Scott Walker mentality (and approach) as any politician I've meet. And I've met a lot of politicians. Arrogance, entitlement and an utter inability to bring people together would ensure that Illinois was - in fact - a heartbeat away from having a governor who would be even worse when it comes to destroying our public education system.

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

3 + 1 =