Friday, April 18, 2014
Vitti versus Stewart with the commissioner of education job on the line.
I have been wrong about things before. I thought Ed Pratt-Danals would be working for a KIPP school by now and I thought Obama was going to be good for education and neither has come true. So I might be wrong about Superintendent Vitti angling for a bigger job too, but follow me for a moment.
The state board of education only kicking and screaming appointed Pam Stewart to be education commissioner. Yes I know they said complementary things about her but she was passed over first by Gerard Robinson from Virginia and then Bennett from Indiana before getting the job. To be honest if they hadn’t hired her after two stints as intern commissioner that would have been really telling.
So here she is finishing her first year and se has come up with some humdingers. She attacked the parent of profoundly disabled little boy for questioning the states overbearing testing policies. She made cosmetic changes to common core and then changed the name hoping nobody would notice that for all intensive purposes the same thing. Then she hired the same group that did the disastrous VAM to replace the FCAT and is paying Utah 5.4 million dollars to field test the questions after saying field testing was unnecessary.
Yeah I get it, perhaps we could chalk al of above to the nutty nature of Florida but now lets add in Superintendnet Vitti’s push back against Stewarts doubling down on Florida’s failed accountability system.
He penned a letter to the board outlining why moving forward without a pause was a mistake and Chartrand the chair of the state board of education and Vitti’s rabbi, urged Stewart to take the recommendations under consideration. She didn’t and a bill making its way through the Florida legislature is basically a cut and paste of what Stewart has recommended. I want to add despite the fact that the PTA, the teachers union and the superintendents association have come out against it; so much for school choice or local control right.
So what does Vitti do, he strenuously objects (anybody remember that scene from a few good men) but this time he brings the DTU, the NAACP and the school board with them and fires another shot across the bow of Stewart (and the legislature).
"I am vehemently against using this test next year the way right now that the legislature is saying we need to use it," said Duval Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. "Anyone will tell you that before you use an assessment it needs to be properly field tested."
Vitti and other school officials were critical of the field testing to take place in Utah.
"Utah looks nothing like Florida," he said.
I get it my evidence is a little thin, a barely competent education commissioner, disagreeing with a woefully incompetent board and a superintendent supported by the latter pushing back against the former. But if you buy Vitti’s claim that he wants to spend a career in Jacksonville I have some swampland you might be interested in cheap. He is not the 35-year-old superintendent of the 20th biggest school district in the nation because he likes the Jaguars. No this is a stop on his way to bigger things.
Then again I have been wrong before.