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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Superintendent Vitti’s no good terrible very bad leadership. (rough draft)

You know I don’t blame him for last year’s historic drop in school grades. I don’t even blame him for the projected even worse drop that is about to occur, though I wonder if the race to extend his contract is because something really bad is about to drop.

Though if school grades are the barometer of success then the superintendent has been a failure. Now I think the system we have is a disaster but Shine, Fischer and Smith-Juarez, three of the four board members who pushed his extension don’t. Their whole belief system is built on the A-F grading system. That means they just don’t care how our schools do as long as their man is here to run them.

I also don’t give him credit for the millions of dollar he has brought in from the city’s elite. First that money was in the works before he arrived, now would a super who cares more about our teachers been able to bring it home? I don’t know though I suspect a competent super or even Vitti could have gotten the money without sacrificing democracy which is what the QEA does or bowing down to rich community members who have close ties to the privatization movement.

But you know what we can blame him for? Many of his leadership choices which haven’t made much sense and saw people who browbeat and belittle teachers advance. Others have been woefully unqualified for their positions owing their advancement just to personal loyalty to him.

We can blame him for teacher morale which is rock bottom. A lot of that is due to the school leaders he has hired who like him were allowed to bring their sycophants with them.  Sure the pressures are tough and the pay is poor but you will find teachers at schools with good principals who are thriving despite those circumstance. What Vitti and his business cronies don’t get is 40 million over three years is nice, but a motivated happy teacher force is worth exponentially more per year.

Then we can blame the fiasco of extending his contract on him too. I would like to point out it took the district 9 months to negotiate with teachers who went without a contract since last July 1, while extending the supers contract, took a month and happened some nine months before they had too.

The board has already said he will be held harmless for this year’s school grades and apparently last years too. As the top educator shouldn’t he have insisted that all of the district’s teachers will be held harmless as well?  I mean if it is good enough for him shouldn’t he be insisting it is good for the people he is leading?

But he doesn’t think like that. He was a teacher for two years and thinks people that want to be teachers are somehow inferior, and look how he has bonded with the city’s elite rather than rank and file teachers as evidence of that. He thinks we’ll just get some more Teach for America hobbyists in there to get the job done.

There are a lot of things we can blame Vitti for I just don’t think the most obvious is one is one of them.


  1. I agree with most of your points. However, I disagree with your thinking that he is not to blame for the drastic drop in some areas. He is most certainly to blame for a large portion of those drops. Ask the majority of your ELA teachers at the elementary level and they would agree that he is to blame for the drop in scores. We were given novels that were "cheap" in terms of money rather than high in literary value. We were given curriculum guides that direct us to copy passages but no paper and ink to get the job done. We were given curriculum guides days before we were expected to start teaching from them. So much for planning and enhancing. We were directed not to use the text book (which was due to be replaced years ago) because it lacked rigor yet we weren't given enough copies of the novels to use with the classes. I have also heard it was pretty much the same thing for the middle school ELA as well. And what occurred with our reading data last year? It dropped. So, I disagree that he is not to blame for this happening. He is a huge part of the reason it happened. Had we been given the tools needed, we could have made great gains. However, you can't exactly teach a child to read without a book and that is exactly what was expected of us.
    I know that the argument could be made that we have been given access to Achieve 3000 this year. However, we have always had access to some computer program that can be used to enhance instruction. I feel this is just another one of those tools. It still does not replace a quality novel or quality instruction. I just hope that next year, they take a serious look at the Reading curriculum because what we are currently doing is not getting the job done.

  2. Only two years in the classroom? That tells me he couldn't hack it. No wonder there is such a vendetta against older more experienced teachers who are not only successful, but are also happily making a difference in the lives of children. He's jealous!

    1. When I was a waitress in college, I would sometimes wait on people who told me, "I used to wait tables." That meant one of two things: Either they would be understanding if I got behind or made an error or they were going to be the type who thought that they were so much better ie: "I would have removed those plates by now. She sucks!" Vitti is the latter. He remembers that he was so great 15 yrs. ago. That's probably why he loves TFA, but a 2nd yr. teacher has much to learn.