BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Paul G. Vallas, a leader in the effort to shake up American education, has wrestled with unions in Chicago, taken on hurricane-ravaged schools in New Orleans and confronted a crumbling educational system in Haiti.
Now he faces what may be his most vexing challenge yet: Fending off a small but spirited crowd of advocates working to unseat him as superintendent of one of Connecticut’s lowest-performing and highest-poverty school districts.
Bridgeport, a relatively small urban school district with just 21,000 students, is at the center of one of the most contentious educational disputes in the country as Mr. Vallas seeks to salvage his hard-charging agenda amid complaints that he is unqualified for the job.
Parents are upset over his plans to increase the use of student testing. Union officials have denounced his insistence that administrators frequently visit classrooms to evaluate