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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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.


  1. Why is it that Vitti has given the Davis boys such high positions in the district? Could they be the ones responsible for the on-going toxic environment that is DCPS? Like Vitti they are also very well connected. Amazing that a person whose certificate was revoked for allegedly fondling a student would even be hired by the district much less in a position of major responsibility and making six figures.For some time now the district has proven that high standards are only meant for students and teachers.

  2. My biggest issue is with the Code of Conduct that he has essentially dismantled. A kid basically has to have a bunch of fights to get sent to Grand Park. We have students with over 15 referrals from all different teachers, and nothing can be done. Don't even try sending kids to a night program or detention or ISSP for behavior. There are no consequences if they don't go. Our referral numbers may be down, but that is because teachers now realize that writing them will lead to NOTHING! Vitti is all about numbers that make him look good, and he doesn't care how he gets them.
    Why not publish the insight survey with a ranking for each school? My school is in the 30's percentile, and that's mainly because admin is tied up because of the rules in the Code of Conduct. Only people in the schools know what is going on.

  3. Tell it, Jane! The good ole boy network thrives.

    D means Below Average and F means Failing. I think that accurately describes most of Jacksonville's schools.

  4. Yes Anonymous and for students the district has high standards for their test results but low standards as it pertains to discipline. The district is Stuck on Stupid because test results would improve if there was a better learning environment. Instead of improving discipline it is just easier them to blame the teachers.

  5. It is an unrealistic expectation to believe that behavior is not linked to academic success or success in any area that involves personal responsibility. You simply can not be academically tight and structurally loose. We are not preparing the students to meet the real world. This flies in the face of the mission statement of the district. In what work environment can an employee show up late or not at all so many times and still be employed. Moreover how many people can still be expected to be employed after a fight at work or theft at work or using profane language directed toward a supervisor. How do these policies prepare students for post secondary education or career options.

  6. Exactly! At my school, we are told (in writing) not to send disruptive students from class. I do though.

  7. You should be trying to "build a positive relationship" with that violent psychopath. You should have better classroom management. And don't make excuses like "but I only have contact with the student for 1.5% of his life this year and I have 34 other students at that time." YOU CHANGE HIM AND CHANGE HIM NOW!"