A story in today’s New Orleans’ Times-Picayunne would have you believe that the New Orleans’ locals are waiting for Paul Vallas like some are waiting for the return of Elvis to Vegas.
At first it seemed impossible that an educator of Vallas’ stature would be willing to come to New Orleans, with its 58 schools and a little more than 26,000 students, after more than a decade turning around hulking systems like Philadelphia and Chicago, each with hundreds of schools and hundreds of thousands of students.
But it also seemed to make perfect sense for Vallas, who friends and colleagues say is always attracted to a unique challenge, particularly one that has been very much in an international spotlight since the storm.
But if you go to my brother’s blog, Small Talk, he exposes the secret report that suggests Vallas may not be what NOLA needs or wants. His tenure as Philadelpia’s school chief, where he pushed private charters with abandon, now looks bad with reports that every one of the charters were unable to show significant student progress and discriminated against students with disabilities and non-English Language Learners.