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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Superintendent deflects responsibility, insults, up to the very last minute

The Times Union did a piece talking about our one percent growth in third grade reading. It's true we aren't where we want to be and we have a long way to go but lets  acknowledge that and appreciate it.

However, I can't help but wonder what we could have done had we had a curriculum that valued books above handouts and used a curriculum teachers both helped to pick and supported. I would like to think we could have done much better than one percent, that maybe we would have matched or exceeded the state gains of 4 percent, but we are who we are and superintendent Vitti is who he is as well and that's a poor excuse of a leader and I will let his own words explain why that is.

He led off his comments to the Times Union with the following:

“This was a low-performing cohort as compared to the one before them,” Vitti said, adding they probably needed more phonics instruction in their younger grade levels.

He doesn't mention that this cohort of third graders has been in the system for as long as he has been super here or that if he thought they needed more phonics he was the one person who could have made sure that happened. This cohort is the first one to have come up completely through his curriculum and leadership choices. Like no other cohort, he is responsible for how they performed and what does he do? He insults them.

Hey parents of third graders, did you know your children when compared to other recent cohorts, they just didn't measure up? Hey superintendent Vitti did you ever think that maybe that's because this group was immersed in your lousy curriculum choices?

The thing that Vitti did best was his ability to deflect responsibility and lay blame, whether it was on and these are things he has said, our short bench, our poor math teachers, the state or a low performing cohort.

Now if you read the piece he does mention the hard work of the third grade team but that is almost like an after thought to him.

Being the super has to be a tough job but you know what else is a tough job? Being a third grade teacher in Duval county and I hope the next super give them a better chance at being successful.

Mark Woods did an op-ed in the Times Union today where he talks about how Vitti will work right up to the last minute before he heads to Detroit, well he does something else and that's by continuously deflecting responsibility and insulting the good people of the district he shows what a poor leader he is and how the District will be better off without him.

Good luck Detroit, you are going to need it.


  1. At least the citizens of Detroit should know that growing up in Dearborn Heights is not the same as growing up in Detroit. Check the Census Quick Facts for demographics of both to see what I mean. For example, owner occupied housing rate in Dearborn Heights is 50% higher and value of those houses is twice as high. Kind of like someone growing up in Clay or St. Johns and then "going home" to Duval.

    1. you are correct. His "going home" was totally misrepresented. I wonder what else we were told about him personally that was misleading? I just hope we will now have someone who is focused on children and what is best for them.

  2. At least he's consistent in playing the scapegoat game. Give him credit for mixing it up though. Low performing cohort is a new one. When you've run out of scapegoats blame the kids.

  3. I hope the school board and others will listen to the curriculum concerns and make changes. Our third graders are coming to third grade without know how to read. Please help us make it better if you are in a position to make those decisions about curriculum. Thank you.

  4. Next year will be even worse because of the new materials primary teachers were forced to use for foundational skills, i.e. the Saxon program! Ask any teachers, especially those in Kindergarten, about the lack of sight words, phonemic awareness, and letter names/sounds these kids will have going on to first grade. Also, Vitti decided a few weeks before testing to require intensive phonics for third graders based on winter i-ready data to help them catch up. Too little, too late. We need a phonics and phonemic awareness continuum to follow, suggested activities, and just let us teach these skills. Third grade teachers should not be punished for having to explicitly teach phonics, but primary teachers should not be getting the blame either, when their hands are tied with an ineffective program!

  5. I have to say I think the Saxon program is great. What a difference it made for my students. It is a phonics continuum program. Just an aside Mason Davis makes curriculum decisions and then sits back while others take the blame when they don't work. The 3rd grade program used for a quick fix was terrible! It was strictly a read it quick recitation of words and phrases. Saxon is much more comprehensive. I think teachers in 3rd will see a difference in how children can attack words phonetically. However, the reading series that was adopted by the actual adoption committee had a phonics component.