Sunday, October 27, 2013


from Diane Ravitch's blog  |

Diane Ravitch: A teacher in Los Angeles who calls himself Geronimo left the following comment on hearing that Superintendent Deasy planned to resign, then declared that he was only thinking about resigning and might not resign after all:

Geronimo: “If the saga of LAUSD wasn’t soap opera-y enough, the Number One Diva of LA–no, not Kim Kardashian, but Superintendent John Deasy–is forcing the entire city this weekend to witness his woeful performance of “Hamlet.” Early reports on Thursday night had the melancholy prince resigning thus creating premature joy with teachers (or his subjects as we’re known under his regime) in the hopes that our city’s long national nightmare was finally over. Alas, the sigh of relief was short-lived.

“Although there probably has never been a more self-aggrandizing, yet endlessly self-pitying superintendent than John Deasy, we will now have the spectacle of observing who is going to beg this prima donna to stay. Some of the city’s most powerful denizens are already lining up to kiss his ring, weeping and imploring this man to continue to grace us with his wisdom and infantile temper.

“The cry has already gone up among the Establishment, “Don’t leave us now, John!”

“So our city now goes into high-wire drama until Tuesday when the beleaguered, intimidated and castrated School Board meets for Deasy’s contractual “performance review”. It is only afterwards that Deasy will inform the world on his plans. The “leak” of his resignation was clearly designed to put pressure on the School Board to “listen” to the will of the “people” (um, note WHICH people) and do the right thing and say, “We can’t live without you, John. Please come back and forgive the savages who have said such mean things about you.”

“The truth about the California Educational Reform movement is that it is different than almost anywhere else in the country. In other parts it’s the Republicans who are running Education Reform. If you look at the map, they control all the state legislatures in the south where the weakest teacher unions exist and most of the legislatures throughout the Midwest. Those cuckoo birds would never fly in California.

“What has happened in progressive California is that there is a clear split on the Left. Here, it’s the Moneyed/Connected/Privileged Neo-Liberal Left vs. the Working Class/In-the-Trenches Left. Sure Michelle Rhee and John Deasy can each out-boast other who is more pro-gay or pro-immigration and who has the most Democratic Party merit badges on their scout uniform. But when it comes to Education Reform, they are as Far Right Wing as Scott Walker, Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal.

“And they are just as dangerous, disingenuous and damaging.

“The biggest modus operendi that this Moneyed Class Left does is to appropriate the “Civil Rights” mantra while courting big name Democrat Party millionaires who have vested interests in their type of top-down CEO managed school reform. In the future, when I think of who will be on those monuments in Washington for their tireless crusade to protect the rights and opportunities of poor children of color, I definitely picture Eli Broad and John Deasy and the Pearson Corporation.

“Eli Broad knows fine art and music. He’s a philanthropist in that area. In education, he’s a vulture as he buys power and influence in LA supporting HIS style of Reform. With Broad’s money that is hard to turn down, he gets to steer the bus on his terms–Not the kids’ interests or benefits. The Mayors of LA know that and acquiesce to the quid pro quo.

“Meanwhile, back high atop LAUSD headquarters, Deasy constantly denigrates people who disagree with his educational priorities and methodologies. As he primps himself as Deasy X, I would love to hear what Brother Malcolm would say to his grotesque appropriation of “The Movement”. Deasy self-righteously believes an iPad is what our kids need the most. How about giving them what HIS KIDS and all of his rich patrons give their kids? Great class selection, minimal testing, field trips, cool opportunities, enrichment of all kinds, small classes…? It’s abhorrent and insulting what he offers our neediest kids and orders the teachers to follow suit in implementing his noxious brand of instruction.

“So we are all left with the billion dollar iPad as Deasy’s “I have a dream” legacy.


“In almost every single interview Deasy has done extolling the virtues of the iPad, he always brings up the example that kids can now go look up “The Arab Spring” to see what textbooks don’t include. I don’t know why he’s latched onto the Arab Spring as his perpetual fall back mantra–His lack of imagination for anything else the kids could look up, perhaps. The Arab Spring is what the kids did when they hacked into the computers! Good for them! They revolted on their own and how does Deasy respond?

“Clamped down on them like any authoritarian figure.

“And more nauseating, each thousand dollar iPad (when everything is finally totaled up) all include those really inspiring Pearson-designed lessons that are supposed to make the kids wildly enthusiastic about learning. No wonder they wander to Youtube or Tumblr or anything else that is remotely interesting to them.

“How do you know the difference between the two worlds on Education Reform on California’s Left Wing? Easy. What they want and have given THEIR kids and what they believe is acceptable for OTHERS’ children. All of them are identical: Arne Duncan. Bill Gates. Mayor Eric Garcetti. Eli Broad. Barack Obama. They would never for a second tolerate the conditions they offer LA’s kids if their own kids were placed in a typical LA classroom.

“Yet we have to listen to them endlessly pontificate on what’s BEST for other people’s kids.

“Deasy, has always been about secrecy and I-Know-Best bullying. His obvious disdain for teacher input has been made clear. Like Michelle Rhee, he is very quick with the “I LOVE teacher” rhetoric–but they have to be HIS kind of obedient teacher who kowtows to his genius. In 2011, Deasy was installed undemocratically by former Mayor Villaraigosa to “shake things up” and yes, he did–but it was more like Fukushima. Teachers despise him not because they are against some mythological status quo–it’s just that HIS status quo is antithetical to smart, creative, thoughtful teaching. The kids know it too and wither under his brand of instruction.

“In Michelle Rhee’s book RADICAL, she specifically singles out California as the big enchilada for her designs on the rest of the country. She has based her operation in Sacramento and believes that if she can transform California, the rest of the country will follow. Not a bad bet.

“When I first heard the news about Deasy leaving, I hadn’t been that relieved since Nixon resigned.

“And now it may be a cruel hoax. I actually don’t know what it will take to really be rid of Deasy, short of a farmhouse caught in a tornado landing on top of him. With this piece of “will he/won’t he” go melodramatics to inflame as much public sympathy for his plight, Deasy is giving everyone a preview of what life will be like if he can be “persuaded” to stay and endure the slings and arrows of his outrageous fortunes.

“Can we PLEASE pull this really bad Laurence Olivier off the stage of LA once and for all?

“Please, inform Mayor Eric Garcetti how you feel:


“Something is rotten in the city of LA. This show needs to close immediately.”

L.A.’s Business Community Fights to Save Deasy

FROM Diane Ravitch's blog |

October 27, 2013 //

By dianerav:  A leading member of the bar and a member of the California Board of Regents is urging the Los Angeles school board to retain Superintendent John Deasy, who recently threatened to resign. The letter was signed by George Kieffer, a Schwarzenegger appointee to the state Board of Regents in 2009. Business leaders are working hard to hold on to Deasy, despite his poor relations with the educators of Los Angeles and the recent iPad fiasco. Even the mayor weighed in to support Deasy.

Clearly, the power structure wants Deasy. And they don’t care what educators think about his leadership.

The letter read:

Dear Members of the Board of Education:

This letter is to inform you of the tremendous sense of disappointment, approaching anger, that the Los Angeles community is feeling today because of the inability of the School Board to develop a plan with Superintendent Deasy to move forward together for the benefit of the students of the Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”).

LAUSD has seen important gains across the board in student achievement over the last few years. Under LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy’s leadership, the District has improved student test scores and other student success indicators such as the number of students accessing college preparation courses. It has also seen decreases in student drop-out rates and truancy rates.

The District is embarking on a massive roll out of professional development and technology tools that will prepare teachers and students to implement the new, and highly more rigorous, state education Common Core standards and student assessments. Further tests to Dr. Deasy’s leadership will be presented as the District prepares to develop its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), as part of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) that was passed by the State Legislature and signed by the Governor earlier this year. The LCFF is a much needed step in the right direction to ensure that all California schools receive equitable funds from the state.

All of these and other important initiatives are crucial to ensure students are succeeding academically and graduating prepared for college and 21st century competitive careers.
We believe that John Deasy has the unique skills and commitment necessary to move the district forward on each of these topics. The leadership of the business community and the non-profit community strongly supports Superintendent Deasy and we encourage the School Board to meet with him immediately to work out a plan to continue his tenure as our Superintendent of Schools.

In the next few months, and for the first time in several years due to an increase in funding, the Board will make critical decisions about the budget and technology programs. It will be very difficult to make good decisions for our children if we do not have a strong and experienced leader in the Superintendent’s office.

Firing Superintendent Deasy, or making his life so miserable that he has no choice but to leave, is not in the best interests of the students of Los Angeles. We urge you to pull the board together and make every effort to retain one of the top Superintendents in the country.


Sent by: Lucy Smith
Secretary to George Kieffer
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

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