These days, the blogosphere has become a medium for democratic expression. With so few mainstream media still in existence, blogging has become an important forum for those who have no voice.

Today’s New York Times has an article about the controversy surrounding Paul Vallas in Bridgeport. Vallas speaks contemptuously of bloggers as “electronic graffitti.”

The article speaks dismissively of the fact that Vallas does not have the credentials required by state law to be superintendent. After all, he served as superintendent in Chicago, Philadelphia, and the Recovery School District. The article failed to review how Vallas performed in those districts, while suggesting that this real-life experience should suffice to qualify him as superintendent of Bridgeport.

Is Chicago a successful district after years of control by Vallas and then Arne Duncan? Hardly.

What about Philadelphia? Vallas introduced the nation’s most sweeping privatization experiment when he was in charge, and it was a colossal failure. When he left, the city was in deficit, and it is now facing financial and educational collapse after a decade of state control.

And the Recovery School District? Its partisans, who have poured millions into privatization, keep speaking of “progress” and rapid test score gains, but fail to mention that the RSD in Louisiana is one of the state’s lowest performing districts, where at least 2/3 of the charter schools are rated D or F by the state.

Note that Secretary Duncan defends Vallas and his lack of credentials. This is not surprising because Duncan never had the credentials or education experience to be superintendent.

A reader commented on Duncan’s remarks:

The article says, “Arne Duncan, the federal education secretary, said the opposition to Mr. Vallas was ‘beyond ludicrous.’ He said too many school districts were afraid of innovation, clinging to ‘archaic ideas.’

‘This, to me, is just another painfully obvious, crystal-clear example of people caught in an old paradigm,’ Mr. Duncan said in an interview. ‘This is the tip of the iceberg.’”

“I imagine that the “old” paradigm is the one about true education: students learning and teachers teaching, based upon their philosophies, knowledge, and assessment of the moment, etc. That is, their professionalism, compassion, and fortitude.”

This is my comment:

What is the new paradigm? Education reduced to test scores delivered by inexperienced people with no professional preparation. Principals and superintendents with no education experience.

How, exactly, is that “reform”?