A Perspective on Education from Paul Vallas
Trinity welcomed Paul Vallas, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, to WorldView on October 12. The prominent educator, who currently serves as Superintendent of the Recovery School District in New Orleans, spoke to a crowd of 225 community members, local educators, and Trinity students, faculty, and staff.
Vallas has been implementing sweeping district-wide reforms in New Orleans, duplicating many of the initiatives that turned the school systems of Philadelphia and Chicago into nationally recognized models for education reform.
The “reformer and educational transformer,” as introduced by business professor Dr. Nelvia Brady, shared his reasons why public education seems to be failing and the commonalities he sees in high performance schools, despite factors affecting families in the districts such as poverty.
“You haven’t seen poverty until you’ve seen deep South poverty,” said Vallas, who faced the task of school reform in a city in which Hurricane Katrina wiped out many of the schools. “So why are schools having great success there?”
The main reasons, according to Vallas, include having an instructional game plan; dedicating enough instructional time, such as longer school days and more days during the academic year; community engagement and partnerships; and choice.
In New Orleans, that choice is given to parents and to schools.
“Parents can apply to 20 different schools and 40 different elementary schools,” he said, while the schools have the choice to recruit and promote personnel on the basis of performance rather than seniority.
Following his enthusiastically delivered presentation, Vallas answered myriad questions from the just as enthusiastic crowd.
For more information, contact Beth Decker, director of WorldView, at 708.293.4908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming WorldView events
WorldView events are Mondays in October at 7 p.m. in the Ozinga Chapel and are free and open to the public.
Martin Marty – October 19
One of the most prominent interpreters of religion and culture today, Martin Marty will present “LETHAL RELIGION— Around the World, in the Nation, and Down the Block.”
Bella Voce – October 26
Bella Voce, “the always-adventuresome a cappella group,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times, will entertain, inspire, and educate through their choral chamber music performance.
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