Please stay together--for the children

Will the marriage of Paul Vallas and Philadelphia's School Reform Commission (SRC) soon end in divorce? The two got off to a lovely start in 2002, when Vallas implemented a series of innovative reforms, such as closing chaotic middle schools and creating unique partnerships with the private sector, but passions have cooled since the honeymoon and Vallas's bosses now seem less enthusiastic about renewing their vows. It's unfortunate that the seven-year itch has hit SRC and Vallas three years early. Under the couple's guidance, the City of Brotherly Love's schools have made good progress. Alas, SRC members find Vallas's celebrated intensity tough to live with. One member suggested that Philadelphia needs "a bureaucrat rather than a messiah." Others resent Vallas's aggressive style and independent decision-making. One commentator even called him "crazy." But a strong-willed partner is no reason for a divorce. Perhaps the two should sit down with Boston's recently retired Superintendent Thomas Payzant, whose tenure in Beantown is a testament to sticking together through the tough times--and paid off for its children. Come on, Philly, give it one more try.

"Vallas may be ‘crazy,' but we'd be crazier to let him go," by Ronnie Polaneczky, Philadelphia Daily News, July 6, 2006

"Vallas' future here is uncertain," by Susan Snyder and Martha Woodall, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 2, 2006

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