- Bridgeport, Conn. superintendent and education reform superstar Paul Vallas was announced Friday as Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate in his reelection campaign.
- Vallas made his name in post-Katrina New Orleans when he replaced its public schools with charters, but his future as superintendent of schools in Bridgeport, Conn., was thrown into question in September, when three school board members supporting him were soundly defeated in the Democratic primary.
- Needless to say, the Illinois Education Association was far from delighted, with President Cinda Klickna telling Salon via e-mail that Vallas, who once headed Chicago's public schools, "was known as a top-down administrator who routinely chose confrontation with the Chicago Teachers Union over collaboration.”
The selection of Vallas, who preceded U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan as head of Chicago Public Schools, as a running mate on Illinois' gubernatorial ticket is certainly a surprise. Aside from the fact that he doesn't even live in Illinois right now, as Klickna says, a qualified "professional educator" running mate wouldn't have been hard to find in Illinois. There aren't strong feelings for him in Connecticut, either, as the defeat of his supporting board members was seen as a key victory against corporate education reform. According to Bridgeport Education Association Vice President Rob Traber, “I have seen nothing to show that he has been successful anywhere he’s gone, including Bridgeport. And he has moved from one place to another and left it in worse shape than when he got there.”