• ROB FINCH/SUN-TIMES
  • Paul Vallas, 1997

The latest news about Paul Vallas was a few days old when George Schmidt came a-calling.

I wasn’t surprised to hear from him. Way back in the 90s and early aughts, Paul Vallas—Mayor Daley’s hand-picked school CEO—did what he could to make Schmidt’s life miserable.

So it was Schmidt’s turn to gloat—just a little.

“You hear what happened to Vallas?”

Oh, yeah. A judge had removed Vallas from his position as superintendent of schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut, because he didn’t have proper certification.

If that wasn’t bad enough—”Vallas had the nerve to compare himself to Michael Jordan,” said Schmidt.

I hadn’t heard that.

“It’s true,” said Schmidt. “He said that removing him as superintendent because he doesn’t have the right certification is ‘like saying Michael Jordan can’t coach basketball because he doesn’t have teacher certification.'”