LAUSD Superintendent of Schools John Deasy Must Go

Joseph K. is a 24-year veteran of LAUSD, a former mentor teacher twice named a Johns Hopkins University Teaching Fellow, who now teaches poor, inner-city children who wake up every morning in their gang-ridden, drug-infested neighborhoods at five a.m. to catch the bus by six. He teaches the old-fashioned way – by ignoring standardized test scores. Instead of teaching bubbling, he tries to instill a love of knowledge and learning in his students and for this reason will probably be allowed to continue teaching for fifteen more minutes.

by Joseph K.


It is time for Deasy to go.

After robbing poor, minority children of recess in the name of test prep in Prince George’s County years ago, he left nothing but wreckage and enmity as a district superintendent in Maryland. Deasy said, “Lessons at schools missing testing goals have to be very targeted, and there often isn’t time for electives and free play like at other schools.” Tough break for poor, primarily black children.

Ditto Santa Monica, where ex-Superintendent Deasy is now universally despised. Deasy has a knack for being universally despised.

He was awarded a fraudulent PhD from University of Louisville after only six months attendance and just nine units of coursework by a professor (Robert Felner), whom Deasy later repaid with more than $375,000 of “consulting” contracts in Santa Monica. SubstanceNews has this to say:

According to a highly placed source, formerly at UL, Deasy’s dissertation’s title page carries the date, May, 2003, while it is signed off, April 9, 2004. He entered the program in January, 2004. A UL investigation of the Deasy PhD did not condemn the practice.

James Ramsey, UL president, who had turned a blind eye to Felner’s notorious corruption (the faculty gave Felner a “no confidence vote” in 2006, but he served at least two more years at UL with Ramsey’s full support), gave his nod to the “blue ribbon” investigation.

However, the UL handbook clearly states that a PhD candidate must spend two years on campus. More, it usually takes most students a minimum of three years. In addition, UL rarely allows a student to transfer more than six credits.

Deasy, after allegations rose up about his imaginary degree but before the investigation, was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “If the university made errors in the awarding of the degree, I do hope they rescind it. My responsibility is to do everything I was advised and told to do. If I was advised wrong and given wrong information, the university needs to take responsibility for that. I certainly would not want anything unearned.”

Professor Felner was later sentenced to prison for more than five years for defrauding the federal government and urban school districts of $2.3 million. Here in LA, there were inconsistencies in Deasy’s resume. He claimed to have taught at Loyola, though Loyola had never heard of him.

More recently, Deasy laid waste to Miramonte Elementary School, illegally transferring more than a hundred teachers, every adult in the building in fact, without even the pretense of a shred of evidence of wrong doing against any of them, thereby further traumatizing already severely traumatized children.

The story gets worse.

Though cleared of all wrong doing more than two weeks ago by the Sherriff’s department, Miramonte teachers remain in exile in a brand new high school the District saw fit to never open. Their careers and reputations now possibly forever destroyed, they sit helpless day after day in a building with no children talking among themselves, staring at walls. They are sitting in limbo day after day in Deasy’s Guantanamo Bay.

Meanwhile, what is happening to the children at Miramonte? Do they have one or two new teachers? Do they like their new teacher(s)? Who are these teachers?

Parents ask, “Where did these new teachers come from? Are they any good? How do these new teachers know what has already been taught if they just arrived the next day? Are they all just starting over? How long will they stay?”

How much has all this cost (and I don’t mean just money), but I do have a feeling several lawsuits at least will have quite a say one day.

Deasy cares not a whit about education, children, or teachers. He cares only for his own personal ambition and standardized test data. “Data should drive instruction,” he drones on and on and on.

He reduces curriculum to test prep, then fires inner-city principals and demonizes teachers by closing inner-city schools, or giving them away to private charter companies when they don’t drive data fast enough. Many of these benefiting for-profit charter companies contribute significantly to Deasy-supporting school board member reelection campaigns.

Add to that all of the Gates and Broad Foundations’ money? Gates was Deasy’s former employer and Broad is his mentor. Who is in whose pocket?

To quote education writer Susan Ohanian, Deasy’s record “reads like the tombstone inscription for the death of childhood.” Ditto for teacherhood.

He wants to make each and every scurrilous charge by an LAUSD principal or administrator (no matter how baseless, ill-conceived, or malevolent) a part of a teacher’s permanent record. No evidence required. Scandalous. Under Deasy, 9,300 layoff notices were sent to teachers, librarians, nurses, psychologists, one out of four members of UTLA. One out of four. So eager to layoff teachers was Deasy, that he sent quite a few individuals not just one, but two or even three layoff notices.

Erasing adult education, early childhood, and School Readiness Language Development Programs are just the tip of the Deasy’s iceberg. Music and the arts are also mostly toast thanks to Deasy. Creativity? Who needs it?

LA Phil Letter to Deasy126

Late last year, Deasy dissolved the District Advisory Committee which for 30 years has allowed parents to monitor and advise the use of Federal Title I funding. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Parent Group Files Lawsuit Charging LAUSD With Misuse of $2.5 Billion in Federal Title I Funds

He banned its duly elected members from Parent Centers as well as all LAUSD property. In some instances, DAC members were visited at their homes and pulled out of meetings by LAUSD police, while others were threatened by District administrators with deportation. This is Deasy’s hallmark, an atmosphere of fear and an absence of both compassion and ethics. LAUSD now faces a $2.5 billion class-action lawsuit for misuse of Title I funds.

With no oversight, comes no accountability. With no accountability, comes no restraint. He raised the poverty level required to qualify for federal funds from forty to fifty percent, thereby eliminating millions of federal tax dollars to twenty-three District schools. Deasy is keeping the money. LACES alone (one of LA’s first and most successful magnet schools) will lose $400,000 next year. How much is $400,000 times twenty-three?

But even that isn’t enough for the insatiable Deasy. Now he’s taking from Title II and III too. Unbelievable. At what point does theft become an issue? Title I, II and III funds are from the federal government. They are our tax dollars. Title I goes to the poor including food for hungry children. Food? Who needs it? Title II improves instruction. Title III goes to those with limited English. Not any more. Much of it now goes to Deasy. Schools will just have to make do.

It is one thing to abuse teachers, but quite another to steal from poor, hungry, minority, limited-English speaking students. You do not steal federal government money. You do not steal from children period.

You do not steal libraries. You do not steal preschool. If you want to really destroy poor, minority children, there is no better way to do it than by eliminating preschool programs. Preschool is the single greatest determinant of future academic success in inner-city schools. It is the most efficient use of education dollars.

Not any more, thanks to Deasy.

What does he want all this money for? Testing. Testing, testing, testing, and more testing. Deasy seems to believe the best way to fatten a starving calf is to buy it more scales. “Forget Music. Forget art. Your number two pencil had better be sharp!”

Though Deasy’s initial investments and projections remain secret, it must be in the hundreds of millions. Massive consulting contracts already go out to testing companies with very little oversight. This is just a down payment. If Deasy gets his way, the testing regimes of NCLB will look like a quiz by comparison. Pre-tests, post-tests, and interim assessments. He wants to quantify child development with a bold bubble strategy. Despite their limited scope and reliability issues often exceeding fifty percent, Deasy wants to use standardized test increases or decreases to evaluate, then fire teachers. That means every student must be tested by every teacher many times each year.

You cannot evaluate some subjects and not others (unless you teach in Tennessee where teachers are now evaluated in grades and subjects they don’t even teach).

Deasy’s wants to impose a value added measure (VAM) to evaluate teachers. VAM was invented by Dr. William Sanders, a statistician working in the field of agricultural genetics at the University of Tennessee in the 1980’s. He was, quite literally, a bean counter. He believed he could use his statistical models used to produce plump, ripe tomatoes (and probably beans) to evaluate teaching. Then Governor Lamar Alexander said, “Go for it.” Unfortunately, children are neither tomatoes nor beans and teaching is not agriculture.

To “prevent” teaching to the tests, the tests will have to be new and different each and every year. How else can you “prevent” teaching to a test when teachers’ jobs are at stake and those teachers, no matter how moral, have already seen the test? How will it be fair if some teach to the tests while others don’t, in favor of skills such as oral language, written expression, creativity, and divergent thinking? Standardized tests penalize divergent thinking. They teach false truths, such as the idea there is only one answer or just one which is best. Is it the result of bad teaching when hungry children in the city find shading endless bubbles for the umpteenth time every year too tedious to regard?

Hundreds of millions is just a down payment. Just who will profit? For how long?

And what for?

It is time for Deasy to go.

I'm Cynthia Liu, Owner/Founder of K12 News Network. I'm the proud product of public schools through post-grad, the mom of a child in public schools, and the daughter of two teachers. Connect with me professionally on LinkedIn.

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  1. Tony - April 3, 2012, 5:43 am

    alumni of UL are furious at John Deasy's fake PhD. Once the investigation was done, it turned out that Robert Feldner had never supervised a PHD program. Deasy was the first and only one where he was the head of the dissertation. Also, it was learned that Feldner never disclosed the fact that he had received a $375,000 gift (actually Santa Monica Unified's Money) prior to the college awarding the PhD. Obviously, a conflict of interest that was swept under the rug. According, to the investigation, those who needed to know, weren't made aware.

    The $375,000 was supposed to go to a TEACHER EVALUATION Non Profit Organization that Feldner Created outside his regular job of the leader of U. of L. Feldner put the money in a different account with a similar name to the Non Profit Organization.

    Read further on the Dark Lord, John Deasy at

  2. Susan - April 3, 2012, 1:31 pm

    It sounds like this blog is run by the Unions that hate change. The unions do not like funding to stay in the classroom. Radical change is needed in the schools. The article sounds like they want status quo, keeping the 50% drop out rate and no education in the schools.

    • Cynthia - April 7, 2012, 3:54 am

      Susan, this isn't a union blog. But also, this is not a teacher-bashing website. What are your actionable ideas for improving public education given that 21% of children, about 15 million of them, live below the poverty level? (See:

    • Brian - July 7, 2012, 10:19 am

      Cynthia,are you inferring that a persons ability to retain useful knowledge is at all affected by finance?

  3. Lisa - April 3, 2012, 6:05 pm

    Thank you for letting the public know what a unethical hack this guy is. He has said publicly that teaching should only be a three to five year pass through on the way to another career. Would you go to a hospital that continuously churned its staff with inexperienced doctors and nurses?
    He was sent to LAUSD by Bill Gates and Eli Broad not to fix its problems, but to destroy it. Until he goes, LAUSD will waste the education for a whole generation of students.
    If you live in L.A. please contact your school board member and tell them to vote him out. Oh, and he can take his taxpayer funded personal chauffeur with him!

    • Rene Diedrich - April 23, 2012, 5:23 pm

      Wow, you sound like a reflexive pod person or meat puppet defending your master. I can't speak for the others , but many teachers see the union as a huge part of the problems . Your lack of insight about the issues is typical, instead of addressing Deasy's notorious ethical issues and hypocrisy you go on the offensive. This man is stealing money out of funds designated to help poor students learn ; he's wasting them on tests we don't need from a company that already earns 1 million from LAUSd annually. It's also very easy to verify that Deasy ha had an alliance with Scholastic for some timel given Cortines conflict of interest consultant's gig with the test makers for a decade , not to mention the Broad-Gates ties to it, it is difficult to deny that Deasy has some explaining to do.
      He has himself broken the laws by his own admission. He was instrumental in protecting perverts to protect himself , a tradition at Lausd. Verify that with google, and when you read those stories take note : the union is not mentioned in any of them because Utla is not eager to help predetors and stain itself more, and the perverts, even subs who are at weill employees get better than use process. Deasy has fired 3 subs publicly without real cause , including a sub yesterday who was accused of belonging to a camera a student discover under a desk. The details are murky because doubt is casting shadows all over this case.
      Deasy is firing teachers accused of less than this cryptic insinuation denying Teacher's their contractual rights and ruining lives. The reason teachers are afforded due process is simple: when a teacher is fired she is unlikely to work again as a teacher or in many other capacities because the assumption is that teachers must commit serious transgressions to provoke their termination. That's simply untrue.
      Many Are whistle blowers, victims of administrative reprisals and targeted for being too expensive . The teachers most likely to be fired are highly educated, experienced and often the best we have .
      If you're some plant hired by this despots , how sad for you. Prostitution seems less degrading . If you're really just clueless and parroting the words some other misguided human posted than DI yourself and the kids in LA a favor. Keep reading blogs like this, but do so objectively.
      If you'd like to understand how education is designed to fail for a business model with an economic agenda instead of a commitment to educations and quality teachers, please check out

      The Broad Report
      Noam Chomski

    • Doug - October 1, 2012, 6:31 pm

      Just a note: you really should spell check and grammar check your postings before you post them. This one is riddled with errors, which only serves to degrade your credibililty.

  4. Time for Superintendent John Deasy to go? | Save Adult Ed! - April 3, 2012, 7:33 pm

    […] Shocking revelations about Superintendent Deasy published in K-12NN News Network. Click here for full article. […]

  5. Leonard Isenberg - April 4, 2012, 6:28 am

    We should know each other, since there is strengthen in numbers. Check out and get in touch, if you would like to talk about our shared contempt for purposefully failed public education at LAUSD and elsewhere that is on schedule to privatization of this $370 billion a year "business" with the 43% of all U.S. public school superintendents that are now graduates of the Broad Foundation like John Deasy. Lenny@perdaily 323.938.1258

  6. Diane B - April 12, 2012, 6:06 am

    Daisy needs to go. So do the board members who hired him without even an interview process.

  7. Rene Diedrich - April 23, 2012, 6:25 am

    Correction: Deasy is NOT giving schools away to charter companies, he rents them space and there's reason to believe some of these charters are often operated by Lausd anyway.
    There is also a deep connection between Deasy and Scholastic which a google search of his name, the test companies and LAs favorite vultures of Philanthropy will bear out.
    Deasy took millions in title one money to facillitate yet more testing this year. Dibbles is not fully explicated yet, but I can tell you district 8 has five or six overpaid instructional leaders meeting daily to discuss lunch and basketball to ensure the data drives the policy and priorities of schools.
    Those millions apparently were not ear marked clearly enough as provisions for the poor students, who these standardized tests continue to discriminate against despite a recent reprimand from Feds that assert Lausd has failed to provide the children of this community with adequate access to an education.
    I do not see how spending more than $5 million more besides to punish, isolate and gag teachers from Miramonte serves that purpose, especially when parent were very adamant that the teachers their children knew and loved should remain. That show of faith was thwarted by Deasy;
    Though cleared of all wrong doing more than two weeks ago by the Sherriff’s department, Miramonte teachers remain in exile in a brand new high school the District saw fit to never open. Their careers and reputations now possibly forever destroyed, they sit helpless
    day after day in a building with no children talking among themselves, staring at walls. They are sitting in limbo day after day in Deasy’s Guantanamo Bay.

  8. Rene Diedrich - April 23, 2012, 6:38 am

    FROM DAILY BREEZE EARLIER THIS YEAR: According to KPPC-FM, which first reported the delay, the CTC sent a letter to Deasy on Wednesday, saying the failure to file the report posed a potential safety risk to students and the committee may "investigate any superintendent who holds a credential who fails to file reports."

    The concern over timely notification centers around the possibility that a teacher could obtain employment in another district while under investigation.

    Berndt was allowed to resign after accepting a $40,000 settlement to drop the challenge to his termination. He remains in custody at the Twin Towers jail on $23 million 


    The California Teachers Assn. has come out strongly against the bill and said it attacks teachers' due process rights and does not address the "failures of leadership" at L.A. Unified.
    can you say hypocrisy?
    Deasy disagreed with their assessment and said the current method by which teachers are dismissed "doesn't even pass a reasonable smell test for the best standards of practice when dealing with performance."
    "Due process is completely covered," he said. "The question I would have is how much due process do child molesters need?"

    How much indeed? You have afforded them more than the laws, Mr. Deasy. And you broke the law doing so. I think it's time for you to receive some remediation in the principals of Democracy. Let's give you a lesson on Equity then due process. We can to an experiment, which another approach to learning in case your test obsession got in the way of pedagogy . We can test the power of the people, petitions and the press. .

  9. Reevah Simon - April 24, 2012, 5:20 pm

    This sounds like some good investigative reporter from the LATimes should be writing about this. Why isn't this more broadly known? If it's true, it fraud and corruption of the worst sort because it trashes our children, our teachers, our future.

    • Chance La Rue - July 12, 2012, 11:08 pm

      ,lIt sounds like you are a victim of profound stupidity. The union is part of the problem, the divide and conquer ploys rely on recuctive binary thinking . I suspect you are a victim of one size fits all testing. Do the world a favor and read Animal Farm, The Metamorphisis , Maybe a little Nathaniel West or Mark Twain. I fear Ambroise “Bitter ” Beirce would drive you to a straight jacket so stick to Kurt Vonnegut, Stienbeck , Ben Franklin, Abigal Adams, as much Diane Ravich as you can get, maybe a bit of Noam Chomsky , AND ANYTHING ( including William F Buckley and Will by G. Gordon Liddy ) BESIDES AYN Rand although she is much better than Rush Limbaugh. Please come back when you catch up.

  10. teacherinlausd - May 6, 2012, 5:49 am

    He is so pro charter that a new school scheduled to open up and relieve my over crowded school will open up co-located by a charter. That is in spite of the fact that the design team whose plan was accepted is primarily from our school.
    Also he is withholding the Title I funds from schools for his own purposes

  11. Marina B - May 13, 2012, 3:55 am

    Testing isn't teaching.
    And PS: the kids don't care about the tests so they don't try.
    Some parents care about the standardized tests but only when they're shopping for a school, and not enough during the school year to demand that their children behave in class so the teacher CAN teach.
    Deasy and his minions don't get this.
    And BTW, I did not become a teacher to do it for a few years then move on to something more lucrative. I became a teacher to give back to society. Where would any of us be without teachers? It sounds like Deasy didn't listen to his.

  12. Arts Teacher - May 15, 2012, 3:58 am

    Again, take the time to read the letter from The Music Center. What they in essence are saying is that they would like to NOW, take the place of the credentialed ARTS teachers in LAUSD. They will do this for some MONEY, so that the Arts Teachers are displaced, and they can earn some revenue.

    • Chance La Rue - July 12, 2012, 11:08 pm


  13. Mariana Petoom - July 7, 2012, 11:01 am

    Mr. Deasy’s wholesale disruption of Miramonte School was ill thought out (if thought our at all). He had no concern about what this did to the children involved, and of course the teachers and other staff, but the children are paramount. On that action alone, he proved he was unfit to lead the LAUSD. I agree he should be fired forthwith.

  14. Mariana Petoom - July 7, 2012, 11:06 am

    Deasy’s response to the crisis at Miramonte was ill thought out, if indeed was thought out at all. It was a rash action that showed no concern for what it did to the children, and of course the teachers and other staff members. I am still haunted by the image on TV of a young child sobbing at her loss of a teacher she loved. If he had no other faults (but he does!) that alone should have given the Board the incentive to fire him.

  15. paula hurdle - October 5, 2012, 5:33 pm

    Deasy and the Bd of Education have to go. People who don’t believe in public education should not be running a public school system. They have a conflict of interest in that they want to privatize education for personal gain. Deasy isn’t at lausd on his merit but as a political move. The district tried to do the very things he’s doing now when the previous super was in but there was widespread rebellion against this. They wanted to separate all the low performing schools from lausd and let them form their own district. This would break up the district and union all in one tactic. Well, this is happening with Deasy and the current board. Let’s reconstitute or charterize these low performers. This is a strategy long in the making but bad, very bad for public ed. UTLA is trying to survive but support the wrong side, that of the district. If fighting for public ed and teachers, students and communities means you don’t survive, come back as a different organization that would really have the support of these groups.

  16. Highs And Lows? More like a Year of Woe! Deasy has got to go. – @ THE CHALK FACE knows SCHOOLS MATTER - April 21, 2013, 9:26 am

    […] LAUSD Superintendent of Schools John Deasy Must Go […]

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