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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vitti saves Christmas and the rest of us too! A fine line between confidence and hubris.

Anybody remember that just 18 months ago Vitti gave himself 47 out of 48 highly effectives on his evaluation?

A lack of confidence is definitely not his problem, unfortunately a lack of humility is because in an op-ed to the Times Union he says he has done everything from turning the district around to saving Christmas too.

Well I exaggerate a bit, just a bit as he starts by taking credit for the increases in the graduation rate something that started to improve years before he got here.  Spoiler alert with the down turn in the economy and with more and more jobs requiring at least some education the graduation rate across the country has increased and increased dramatically.

He then says look fewer of our graduates are taking remedial classes in college, well friends one of the reason why is they got rid of most of the remedial classes in college.

If you bothered to check the source you would see it says by 2014 remedial classes will stop but the thing is colleges started to scale back their remedial class catalogues when the writing hit the wall in the spring of 2013.

I wonder if next year Vitti will say, not one of our recent graduates had to take a remedial class in college this year!

Though that was far from the most ridiculous thing he wrote which was probably: We have also created a pipeline of stronger teachers through partnerships with Teach for America and a Jacksonville Teacher Residency program where STEM undergraduates are recruited to earn their master’s degree and commit to serving at least three years in a Quality Education for All school.

Teach for America does the exact opposite of what we know to be best for our children as well as exacerbates the teacher turnover problem and where he might be having a not so secret love affair with them the rest of the nation is catching on. Cities all across the nation are turning them away and more and more student groups and college professors are refusing to have anything to do with them.

As for the teacher residency program, sounds great, it’s one of the few ideas I like from the democracy hijacking QEA but even it has had hiccups and recently dismissed two members of its first class for what I am told are dubious reasons.  

Vitti’s op-ed started off rather depressing:  All have not consistently received a high-quality education. The challenges of poverty, low expectations, discrimination and political agendas have created disparities that prevent many from realizing their full potential. Delivering on our country’s belief in equal opportunity rests with public education.

I imagine that’s how he thinks Duval was before he arrived and it is certain we were having problems, many created by poor leadership and failed policies but it wasn’t the wasteland that he describes above. We had 7,000 teachers showing up day in and day out, often marginalized, overworked, left out of the loop and given all of the responsibility and none of the authority to do their jobs, or pretty much the exact same way it is now but they were there.

I am not saying Vitti’s tenure has been a disaster but it has been marred by low teacher morale, a top down approach to leadership, half thought out ideas and an outsourcing of the education of many of our children to charter schools at the behest of Vitti’s friends. Heck we are coming off the lowest grades we had in years and just lost six million dollars but to Vitti things like that are less than bumps in the road.

His ultra-self-serving op-ed does the city no good. He falls into the same trap the last administration laid for itself selling the all is well narrative when all is not. We have problems, serious problems and we need serious solutions and serious leaders to carry them out, thus far I have not seen very little approaching that from Vitti

1 comment:

  1. So, Vitti took the credit for the increase in graduation! Does he think teachers who were cajoled into giving passes to the worse students endorse him? No! He is definitely disingenuous when it comes to this issue. When I had to give passes to 10 out of my 12 seniors in Algebra 2 just so they could graduate, how does Vitti take the credit? In fact, several of those students could have been made to stay home and their passing scores could have been posted home. After about 1 1/2 years I still remember one who slept everyday, and sometimes dribbled on the desk, demanding that I pass him because it was the law that I pass him; he was referring to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Law. This poor guy never made an effort in my class. I keep wondering what he is doing for a living.