Education Matters

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Online petition started to fire Vallas _ but who and how many really signed?

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Bridgeport– A petition has been started on the SignOn.org website to ask for the removal of interim Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas.
The petition, according to the website, was started by JoAnn Kennedy. Kennedy is a parent of two students at Bassick High School. So far the petition 52 signatures (as of 6:14 p.m. Saturday) including _ reportedly _  Maria Pereira and Sauda Baraka. Pereira and Baraka are school board members. Reached on Saturday, Pereira said she saw the petition but had not signed the petition.

“It could be someone being a prankster,” Pereira said in an email. “However, Maria Pereira is a very popular name in the Portuguese community. I just did a search of the White Pages. 11 of us come up in Bridgeport.”

Then as an experiment, Pereira then went on the site and was able to successfully sign the petition using another name and a Stratford zip code. So it is unclear how many names on the petition are legitimate.

The petition does have the support of the Working Families Party according to spokesperson Taylor Leake. In an email, Leake confirmed Working Families was very much aware of the petition and supported it. The website says the petition is a project of Connecticut Working Families, and that by signing, you agree to receive email messages from Connecticut Working Families. Leake’s was the first signature on the petition. Kennedy’s the second. Attempts to reach Kennedy and Baraka were not immediately successful.

Here’s how the petition starts:

“When it comes to running Bridgeport’s schools, Paul Vallas gets an F.”

It goes on to fault his ties to “corporate school reform,” as well as positions and supplies cut from the budget and contracts he has entered into. It also criticizes him for spending too much time doing outside consulting work.

“Paul Vallas has failed Bridgeport’s schools. It is time for him to go.” The petition continues.  ”Bridgeport Board of Education: Our students deserve real leadership. Don’t renew Paul Vallas’s contract!” the petition continues.

The petition will be sent to the nine member school board. The board is currently evaluating the job Vallas has done since he was hired in December 2011 by a city school board appointed by the state. That board has since been ruled illegally seated by the state Supreme Court and an elected board returned in September. Vallas has indicated he is willing to stay another year in the role. The evaluation is expected to be completed early next month.

Joshua Thompson, director for education under Mayor Bill Finch, called the petition another example of adults from the Working Families Party intentionally promoting inaccuracies.

“It is incredibly sad to focus on something like this when it is our job to focus on our children and their futures. This petition has no merit,” he said.

(check back for updates)

Categories: General
Linda Lambeck

3 Responses

  1. FixTheSchoolsNOW says:

    The Working Families Party is orchestrating and bankrolling this whole charade. Instead to taking productive steps to improve our schools, they’ve made it their goal to destroy any kind of progress the district has achieved in their absence. Pereira and Baraka are not leaders, they are obstructionists whose only goal is prevent our schools from getting better. People against Vallas need a history lesson. This is where our schools were less than two years ago: http://blog.ctnews.com/education/2011/06/08/what-17-million-in-cuts-to-bpt-schools-could-mean/ We came back from the brink thanks to Paul Vallas NOT the Working Families Party or their puppets Pereira and Baraka who have used every minute of their time on the BOE trying to destroy that progress for our students. PEREIRA and BARAKA do the kids of Bridgeport a favor and RESIGN YOUR SEATS NOW!

  2. Marian says:

    What is failing is that we keep using one measure to evaluate our children’s learning and based on that we funnel dollars to more programs and more administrators to fix it. ASK THE TEACHERS – they know what the problems are. Spend the money on smaller classes k-3, teach children how to read!! They need to know how to read solidly before they can do anything else! Don’t spend money on technology/computers to get ready for computer based testing….all this money is wasted, misguided, misaligned!

    Teach families how to help their kindergarten children before they get to school. So much time is being wasted by teaching kids material that is developmentally inappropriate or way over their heads!! We are going to lose these childrens sooner, and the stakes are going to be so much higher! Ask the teachers and they will tell you exactly what the problem is. STOP THE TOP-DOWN SOLUTIONS – THEY AREN’T WORKING IN ANY OTHER STATE. No one is telling parents that fact! And Governors in every state are pushing Education Reform SO hard for a reason! Obama told them to so that private organizations can take over the one segment of the econonomy that has been out of reach for years- public education!! It is SO bad that they have to get the schools to fail quickly so that the private charter organizations can get in there and OWN your tax money while DOING MORE OF THE SAME FAILING WORK – TEACHING TO THE TEST IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. If we continue to test kids who cannot read, they will never pass. Schools will be taken over. Things will get worse. PARENTS AND TEACHERS – you need to wake up, speak up and work together to save these kids!!

  3. good_educators says:

    JoAnn Kennedy did not create the petition. When you are on the petition page and click on the “contact” JoAnn Kennedy link, this is what appears (cut & pasted directly from the site):

    Use this form to get in touch with Taylor Leake, who created the petition “Fire Paul Vallas”.

    Contrary to M. Pereira’s assertion, there are only three Maria Pereira listings in Bridgeport – 11 in all of Connecticut. The Working Families Party has taken credit for the petition, Taylor Leake, spokesman for WFP, created the petition under an assumed name, and Maria Pereira was elected to the board on the 2009 WFP slate.

    Thus, Ms. Pereira’s story about a “prankster” using her name is highly suspect. Both Pereira and Baraka, as signers of the petition, must recuse themselves from the process of “evaluating” whether the current Superintendent’s contract should be renewed, and refrain from voting on the issue. Otherwise, it would be as if a judge in a legal case declared the defendant guilty or liable while the trial was still on going.

    Beyond that, I think its worth noting that board members Pereira and Baraka, elected in 2009, have had ample time to take action to improve our schools, yet accomplished nothing for the children of BP, while proving to be destructive forces. And yet here they sit, judging a new administration as if they earned the credibility to do so. Ludicrous.