VALLAS FACTS: 'The Paul Vallas Hoax' in the March 2002 Substance exposed every lie, half-truth, and self serving utteration of Vallas

Substance had the story first, with all the facts. Paul Vallas was a fraud in 1998, just as he has been exposed to be in 2013 in Connecticut. But the facts were ignored for more than a decade. And during those years Paul G. Vallas (and at times his so-called "team") cavorted around the country, pushing the toxic sludge of corporate "school reform" across the USA (and even into other nations).

[See "The Vallas Hoax" at]

How did it happen? Basically, the majority of reporters (and school board members) simply recycled Vallas's own versions of reality, carefully selected from a pile of news clippings from Chicago. The contrary evidence was ignored, while members of the Business Roundtable and other plutocrats pushed Vallas on one school district after another.

Substance had the story early, and we published it. After covering the hypocrisies and lies of Paul Vallas's regime in the final years of the 20th Century, Substance covered Vallas's departure in June and July 2001. In May and June 2001, Vallas finally forced the hand of an exasperated Mayor Richard M. Daley, who replaced Vallas, to no benefit for the public schools, with Arne Duncan in July 2001. Vallas briefly proclaimed that he would take some time off, play some ball with his kids, and rethink what he was doing. Ha! Substance said. Within a month, Vallas was angling to try and become Governor of Illinois. Playing ball would have to wait.

By early 2002, with the Democratic primary in Illinois looming, we had to get the word out beyond our print edition. The debut of Substance on the Web devoted more than 15,000 words of reporting and analysis to the lies of Paul Vallas as he tried to become Governor of Illinois.

In March 2002, as Paul G. Vallas was running for the Democratic nomination for governor of Illinois, Substance published a series of articles in print and on line (in our first Web edition, at our "old" site, The series was called "The Paul Vallas Hoax." In that edition, our readers learned about everything from Vallas's phony resume (he claimed to have taught; it wasn't true; he claimed to have authored major scholarly papers; again, not true; etc.) to his racism.

Vallas lost the vote, but not the affection of some of the pundits and the plutocracy. As a result, the Vallas show, with all its lurid repetitions, went on the road, first to Philadelphia, then to New Orleans, down to Haiti, and on to Connecticut. At each point, the carefully scripted lines, the massive clip files (each of which repeated the previous claims), and the fussy monitoring of any criticisms continued. Always at the center was Vallas's ego -- by the time he arrived in Connecticut, he compared himself to Michael Jordan and blushed humbly while his supporters called him an educational "Rock Star" (a phrase used to describe other frauds and fakes and con men and women to emerge from the Chicago hoax).

On June 28, 2013, a Connecticut court has again stopped Vallas. We want to share here what we reported in 2002. With the widespread collapse of the corporate school reform that was promoted by the plutocrats and pundits who praised Vallas unblushingly for nearly two decades, maybe it's finally time that the next school district doesn't get suckered into hiring Paul Vallas for a quarter of a million dollars a year to "save" their public schools. We'll see.


November 3, 2018 at 5:29 AM

By: Sharon Schmidt

Plutocratic praise for Vallas

Some of the Chicago media write-ups of Vallas would be funny if he weren't so dangerous. George and I used to laugh at the fawning crap published by the Sun-Times in the late 1990s (one piece actually quoted his mom). A Tribune editorial earlier this year talked about him as a formidable opponent with great ideas. Funny, though, one of the Trib's praises of him contains this gem: "Vallas, by contrast [to Rahm Emanuel]r, grew up in the restaurant business greeting customers. He earned mediocre grades in high school and attended a state university. He is known for being approachable and conversational." Substance will continue to share the real and mediocre story of Paul Vallas as the race for Chicago mayor picks up.

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