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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cheating Scandal follows Vitti from Miami. Would he have ever been hired had the school board known?

First you have to read the entire article it's riveting. It's about how educators in Atlanta are about to go to jail for cheating, while educators in Miami are basically getting a pass. It should be important to Duval because in the middle we find superintendent Vitti.   

From Dr. Rich
Though the teachers got paid, the big winners from Norland’s academic successes tainted by cheating were school and district administrators: Reginald Lee went from being an assistant principal over the vocational department in which the cheating took place to the principal of Charles Drew Middle School and then Norland in November 2012; Luis Solano went from being the principal at Norland to the Associate Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction at Collier County Public Schools in Naples; Nikolai Vitti went from being the Assistant Superintendent of the Education Transformation Office (ETO) at M-DCPS to the Chief Academic Officer of M-DCPS and then became the Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville; and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho became the Florida and National Superintendent of the Year shortly thereafter.

Also, the Florida Department of Education recently released information that revealed that Miami Norland SHS had 96 FCAT/EOC test invalidations over the past three school years.
Interestingly, 25 other public schools, all high schools, had more test invalidations that Norland, with 20 of the schools being in Miami-Dade, most of them in the Education Transformation Office.
Okay a couple things, first Vitti was hired largely on two things, his relationship with Chartrand and the huge turn around of the schools in the Education Transformation Office. The article calls at least 21 schools under Vitti's watch into question.
Would he have been hired if the school board knew? Wright and Burney wanted Kriner Cash though I thought the fix was in for Vitti all along. Would Barrett, Couch, Gentry, Hazouri and Lee voted for a thirty-five year old that never stayed in the same job for more than two years and whose signature achievement was being called into question?  I really can't see it especially since we had several more experienced candidates Cash, Dale Robbins, and William Miller
Say he was hired after all, well would the current school board have rushed to extend his contract, with his abysmal results, last years drops were historic and teacher morale is in the dumps. Some people might call the QEA a victory and I think his parent academy is a tremendous idea but would that have been enough to extend his contract if the local media would have notified the public about the questions in Miami?  Probably, Shine Fischer and Smith Juarez have a lot invested in making sure Chartrand's education agenda is fulfilled but I doubt it would have been a slam dunk 7-0 if it happened at all.
Also from the article: A reasonable person may assume that Miami-Dade County Public Schools “created a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation” when it chose to transfer and retaliate against Mr. Colestock for reporting, exposing, and publishing articles about the test cheating while returning Mrs. Muchnick to Norland and never seeking her or Mr. Fleurantin’s prosecution.
The implied message to teachers in Miami-Dade seems to be “keep your mouth shut about test cheating lest you want to end up like Mr. Colestock.”
Well I am sure that sounds very familiar here in Duval to a lot of teachers.
You should know cheating is incredibly hard to prove unless you catch somebody doing it red handed. There was a quick look here in Jax a few years back but even though things looked pretty bad nothing came of it.
Do I think Vitti orchestrated cheating to make himself look good, no, not even close but I can imagine the pressure he put on his principals who then in turn put it on their teachers. The system practically encourages cheating.  I can however imagine that he never would have been hired or had his contract extended had people known about these questions.

1 comment:

  1. Let us not forget Kriner Cash had scandals and questionable decisions trailing in his wake 2.5 years ago when the Board was interviewing. I know we are critical of Dr. Vitti in this forum, but he probably was the best hire we could make at the time. If he would open his ears to his employees like he does the community, half of the things that frustrate us would disappear.