Superintendent Vitti is great at one thing, making excuses.
There has been an impressive show of support for the Superintendent in the Times Union recently unfortunately none of it has come from teachers and parents which should make us all wonder what they know that the business community doesn’t.
Superintendent Vitti may be good at a lot of things but without a doubt the thing he is best at is making excuses. Last year he said changes to Florida’s tests would see our school grades plummet and he was right. The Times Union reported that last year Duval had 46 D and F schools, nearly 31 percent of its schools, up from 22 percent the year before. That was an unprecedented and brutal drop.
This year he says, we haven’t seen anything yet because our switch to the common core tests could double the number F and D scores.
He is both right and it doesn’t matter. Teaching has become a results orientated business and thus far with the most important by far metric, student performance, the superintendent has been a failure and he even predicts things are about to get worse. Earlier this year he said in the Times Union, I wanted to reach the Super bowl and we haven’t even reached the playoffs yet.
Speaking of Football, I like Gus Bradley the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and there are a lot of similarities between him and superintendent Vitti. They are both young, passionate and work hard. Unfortunately there records are similar too, Bradley having gone 4-12 and then 3-13. Does anybody really think Shad Kahn is going to keep him around if we go 5-11 or worse? Mr. Kahn is also not proposing the Jags extend Bradley’s contract, the way the school board is proposing to extend Vitti’s for three more years. What is wrong with waiting until we make the playoffs to extend Vitti’s contract?
If the school board does ignore the evidence in front of them and decides to hold him harmless then shouldn’t they do the same with the district’s teachers and students? If the board is going to say his poor performance is due to bad timing and a switch in tests then how can they in good conscious let teachers who are struggling go too or for that matter fail third grades or prevent students from graduating that don’t score high enough on this year’s test? It sends a bad message if the well connected superintendent is held harmless while teachers and students face consequences.
Unlike the business community who fawns over him, I am a teacher and I interact frequently with other teachers and parents. They think he has done some nice things, other things that leave us confused and also made some decisions usually with administrative personnel that have been disasters. Morale is poor for teachers and communication between them and the district is abysmal. He does not walk on water which is what the business community would have you believe.
I am not saying it’s time to cut ties with the superintendent though I wish he would spend as much time building positive relationships with teachers as he does with business leaders. I am saying what’s the rush and why don’t we wait to the summer or next school year to see what the damage actually is and to see if the Quality Education for all initiatives, something the superintendent is directly responsible for, are working. If it’s not too bad and the QEA is working I and others I believe would have no problem with the board extending his contract but to do so now, some ten months before they have to and with important data yet to be revealed doesn’t make any sense.
Finally aren’t we tired of excuses, I feel like with Vitti and this board that’s all we are getting. I for one would like some results.