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It’s time for Superintendent Vitti to go, a rebuttal to the Times Union’s love letter to Vitti

About four and a half years ago the Times Union wrote an editorial which said, with Pratt Dannals (our former superintendent) we had the team in place to lead us to a brighter future, a few months later after declaring a financial urgency, the board’s auditor found about a hundred and fifty million dollars in the couch cushions of the school board building and even the Times Union had to say it was time for him to go. Let’s face it a broke clock is right more often than the Times Union’s editorial board when it comes to education issues but if you want to see the love letter click the link.


I wrote a few weeks back that after superintendent Vitti was so tone deaf to the staff and community of First Coast high who rose up in rebellion to Principal Al Brenan, he lost me. For the superintendent to so dismiss a staff and community and despite lots of evidence to the contrary say Brennan was one of the district’s best, was too much for me.

Though I think I can make a compelling case even without that slap in the face for him to go.
When talking about the districts progress he said if we don’t count charter schools we are doing even better. Well charter schools have increased over 300 percent in just the four years he has been here. He has recommended charter schools that he said would fail if they were in different (poor and minority) parts of town and allowed charter schools to expand despite the fact they were doing no better and often worse than nearby public schools. He can’t complain about a problem he himself created and then exacerbated, well, let me take that back, he shouldn’t be able to.

Then there is engage New York, which nobody likes and is universally reviled especially in the elementary grades.  

There is teacher moral which is rock bottom. He has also disparaged teachers on numerous occasions in the media.

There is the state and federal government’s investigation into ESE issues.

We are a district with a reading problem so what does he do? He gets rid of librarians, libraries and books, the above mentioned Engage NY depended on hand outs.

Several poor schools didn’t have year book pictures taken and he either didn’t know or didn’t care.
Former police officer report being pressured to keep arrests low and baker act kids rather than arrest him, how the beep does he still have a job after the revelation?!?

Are graduation rates up? Yes but they are up everywhere.

Are test scores up? Marginally but I would say the states changing in how it scores tests and our teachers hard work not his leadership is responsible. Victories and success happen in spite of the administration not because of it.

Is the community involved, if you mean several millionaires who donated some money most of which to Teach for America and a doomed merit pay scheme, yes. It’s just unfortunate that most of these people have charter school interests and in the case of Gary Chartrand, don’t think teachers are professionals or worthy of job protections.

Then there is his tone deafness to families and neighborhoods. He told a family to get a tutor when they said their grandchild was struggling and he said I don’t care, when neighborhoods pushed back against his plans.

Instead of putting in hard work, he wants to gimmick our way to success.

Then he is not much of a leader. I have heard him say several times what he says about play and following the pacing guide isn’t getting to teachers. Well I suspect he is trying to have his cake and eat it too. He says what sounds good in meetings to teachers and families, but behind closed doors he tells his staff to clench their fists.

I don’t think everything he has done has been a disaster, but he is divisive, his ideas consists of gimmicks and he doesn’t appreciate and support the district’s teachers, and for those reasons I believe it is time to move on.

5 comments:

  1. First of all, on the Board's Monday agenda is an item to spend $480,000 (correct me anyone if my memory is off on the exact figure, but it is in the neighborhood) on a curriculum audit to address the elementary reading kerfuffle. I'm cynical about this contract as I tend to think it's more to provide cover for the superintendent's insistence on using Engage NY rather than an objective review of the decision. I too had little regard for the editorial piece: I shared it as the T-U needing pom-poms for their cheerleading. However, Vitti has brought a lot of good to the district. I'm not agreeing with a call for a change because we are likely to get someone no different. Kriner Cash, anyone? Ask Buffalo how well that's working out. I agree with those who say we can't start over every 3 to 5 years. However, I also agree with those who wish the superintendent would develop an appreciation for Jacksonville's history and be more sensitive to the concerns of our inner city neighborhoods, who are losing their schools with the repurposing going on. These schools are more than schools, they are community institutions that provide stability to their neighborhoods and we should not lightly disregard that importance to the overall well-being of our city.

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  2. The business leaders in Jax love him---all 12 of em. He does whatever they want. That's all that matters.

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  3. I had to sit there and watch my students cry and call themselves stupid because they couldn't understand an AP Literature level text in the fourth grade. Keep telling me how great Vitti is doing.

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  4. If you think Vitti is running the show on who is hired fired or what materials we use you are wrong. TNTP and the Davis brothers are running the show. In my opinion they are bullies and have bullied him into submission and they laugh about it behind his back. He is in way over his head so he welcomes them with open arms despite their indiscretions of the past.

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  5. A lot know about the parties, I mean their past indiscretions. However, this to charlatans have crudely dispensed of anyone who has challenged them. Good Luck Clay County. You got what you wanted, may you should have done your homework instead of trying to get rid of Van Zant so quickly. I wonder the deal Addison made with your union president. It is probably the same deal Vitti made with Terri Brady and Ruby George. Interesting that both of their relatives are a regional superintendent and a principal!

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