Hugh Bailey, columnist for the Connecticut Post, takes a clear-eyed look at what is called “school reform” and finds that it is full of holes.

The essential element of “reform” is that schools should be run by a non-educator.

Paul Vallas is a poster boy for that theory.

He didn’t think it was necessary to be an educator; he boasted that he was not an educator.

But Connecticut law says that superintendents must be educators.

That is a pretty big hole.

He writes:

“School reform has for more than a decade meant a headlong dash in one direction, toward more testing, less protection for teachers, more faith in miracle workers. At the heart of the debate is whether educators should be running things. It sounds like a simple enough proposition, but one of the central tenets of education reform as commonly practiced is that educators might belong in the classroom (maybe), but have no business in administration. Vallas, the admired and maligned superintendent of Bridgeport schools, personifies this debate.

Vallas is not an educator. He used to make a habit of announcing that fact as if it were a badge of honor. Even as he has led school systems in three major cities, he has never pursued an education degree.

Connecticut law, though, requires an educator as superintendent, which Vallas and his allies suddenly find to be extremely inconvenient.

But none of it should be considered accidental. Reformers are proud of the fact that their leaders aren’t educators, as if only people outside the system are clear-headed enough to knock some sense into a failing system.

This makes sense in the same way that it would be a good idea for the Yankees to hire some corporate CEO to run their baseball operations rather than someone who maybe knows a little bit about baseball.”

Bailey sees a growing resistance to this ersatz reform, despite the fact that the “reformers” have a near monopoly on money and political power:

“School reform is running into increased resistance nationally, and it doesn’t help that any number of high-profile, billionaire-backed reformers have been exposed as cheats and frauds.

“It’s a movement that may have already crested. More people are understanding that what troubled schools actually need, like real resources and integrated classrooms, are not the goals of today’s reformers. And there is a growing understanding that it is not a school but society in general that is failing too many people who live in poverty, and that to dump all the blame on teachers who are working to help those children is not only unfair but counterproductive.”

This so-called movement, fueled by power and money, is floundering. Bridgeport, Connecticut, may be one place where the movement ran into an immovable object: the law.