Monday, March 31, 2014

A Teacher in L.A: WHO IS JOHN DEASY??

by “Geronimo” from Diane Ravitch’s blog |

March 15, 2014

dianeravitch writes: A teacher in Los Angeles has a gripe about his superintendent, John Deasy: he says Deasy is an uninspiring technocrat, not an educator. He has no educational vision. The LAUSD board recently extended Deasy’s contract to 2016, despite the fiasco in which Deasy committed to spend $1 billion on iPads while laying off arts teachers, closing libraries, increasing class sizes, and neglecting school repairs.

The teacher, whose handle in the comments is Geronimo, writes:

“Here’s my major beef with Superintendent John Deasy (and obviously there were scores of runner ups):

“Deasy has no clue what a “meaningful” education is.

“I have rarely met as uninspiring an educator in all my years of teaching. Of course one can’t even call Deasy an “educator”. He is a CEO and it was for THOSE skills he was hired for–not his ability to actually teach a class.

“The education he prescribes is antithetical to an interesting, smart and stimulating learning that thrills kids and prepares them to become true critical thinker/citizens of this country. The pedagogy of Deasy (and what gets championed by the LA Times editorial board and the unending financial and political weight of Eli Broad and Bill Gates) is all about a notion of education as a metric that can be measured.

“To say that Pearson Testing owns our country’s corporate education values is an understatement.

“There would be no iPad controversy at all if it weren’t for Pearson’s self-interested involvement or the stated need that all kids are required to take the Common Core and standardized tests on a computer. The whole system becomes a self-fulling financial/pedagogical dynamo as the Dept. of Education begins to de facto “require” states to adapt their requirements or suffer starvation for the public education system.

“In one of last year’s closely watched school board races that pitted Monica Ratliff, a fifth grade teacher, against a staff member of then Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with absolutely zero education experience, Deasy, along with all those champions of Education Reform, chose to back Ratliff’s challenger with a million dollars worth of support. In terms of credentials and qualifications it was obvious the best choice.. Deasy, however, couldn’t care less who the Reform candidate was (it could have been a horse) and, even more disgustingly, the needs of the Valley district. He wanted an empty shell to uncritically support whatever he wanted.

“That race clearly demonstrated how much Deasy and his political supporters care and respect the notion of true education. The contempt for the parents, students and community they serve was appalling. Ratliff BARELY eked out a victory that was widely applauded by the anti-reform crowd as a hopeful sign that Big Money can be beaten. Deasy and Company are keenly intelligent political animals and have learned from that race how to win the next time around.

As I mentioned before, Deasy is not an educator. Nor is Arne Duncan. Nor is Ted Mitchell. Nor is Bill Gates. Nor is Eli Broad. Nor is Barack Obama. Nor is Pearson Testing.

“They are businessmen who have been instrumental in creating a two-tier system of education.

“Yes, yes, you hear them say how much they LOVE and BELIEVE in public education all the time. Bill Gates will tell the National Board that this weekend at their annual conference.

“They’re like the wife beater who claims to “love his wife” but has to hit her so she knows how much he loves her. That much! That much! THAT MUCH!


“And then they wonder why the woman doesn’t love them back. Why she trembles when he comes in the room screaming what has to be done to get things right! How they demand to be respected as King of the House and prescribe all the ways that the woman has to “win” his love by “simply” doing this…and this and this and then this!

“What’s so hard about doing that?!?!? he bellows.

“There is nothing “mutual” in the relationship between these people and the public school system. There is nothing mutual in how Deasy commands LAUSD and the teachers and students whom he is supposed to work FOR.

“So back to the notion of a meaningful education.

“Parents and students of LAUSD: You will not get a meaningful education under John Deasy. He was not hired for that purpose. He was hired to raise test scores that these groups alone DEFINE as being “educated.” It is NOTHING LIKE the education that their kids receive. THEIR KIDS get the MEANINGFUL education and if you saw their schools, their classrooms, their opportunities, it would make you weep seeing what true education is possible of granting.

“Tough luck, LAUSD. That door is closed for you.

“Their job is NOT to provide that sort of education for you and your kids.

“Their job is to make public schools profitable on many levels and get you through so they can check you off their “success” box.

“The problems of society that appear in the public schools are not their purview Their testing is not going to change the grotesque hurdles my students face in their lives nor the ubiquitous inequality of a system that favors the Gates’, Broads’, Duncans’, Obamas’ and Deasys’ of the world. The children of all of them are going to be just fine without the pedagogy they think is essential for the students of LAUSD.

“Has anyone EVER heard John Deasy give an inspirational speech about education? All his utterances are all technocratic in spirit and design. His vision is the very definition of uncreative. Lackluster. Miserly. Limp.

“I would NEVER EVER want my own kids in a classroom taught by John Deasy..

“The children of LAUSD deserve a superintendent who has their interests at heart.

“Instead, they have a man who tells them vis a vis his financial and political backers to shut up and prove your worth by bubbling the right answer that your teacher has done their job by instructing you how to get their right answer

“And then you get your diploma.

“Congratulations. You’re Officially Educated.

“Now come in here and clean up this mess, woman!”

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