Open Letter to the LAUSD School Board on Superintendent Deasy’s Performance
Roberta Eidman, MPH, is a public health expert and past adult education lecturer in LAUSD.
If you too would like to share you concerns with the Los Angeles Unified School Board, their emails are below:
Kelli.Bernard@lacity.org (Kelli Bernard, Mayor Garcetti’s Education & Workforce deputy)
Dear LAUSD Board Members:
I applaud the (threatened?) resignation of Superintendent John Deasy. I know some large non-profit groups have stepped forward to voice support his staying, but many public school parents, credentialed teachers and community activists welcome it. Here’s why.
- Broad Academy grad Deasy comes from a failed approach to ‘Education Reform’. That approach includes: equity stakes for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs pushing for full-on privatization of public schools; fungal overgrowth of publicly-funded, privately run charters and Prop 39 co-locations. It conveys the sense that key community decisions should be made by ‘super smart’ retired tech billionaires with no child in the system.
- Deasy has formed toxic, unproductive, disrespectful relationships with teaching professionals. In turn, 77% of UTLA members them gave him a no-confidence vote.
His budgetary priorities are indefensible. It is clear that parents all want smaller classes; they want more librarians, nurses and counselors; and when $1B is spent on technology, it must be well-planned, aggressively well-priced and more carefully deployed. Parents want human activity on campus – that means phys ed and arts.
- Deasy has not worked to defend campuses against injurious Prop 39 co-locations. Unsurprisingly, we note that the prime movers of the Broad/Gates/Walton style of education would gladly shutter all true public schools and hand them over to CMOs, venture capitalists and MOOC providers. It is heartbreaking to visit a co-located campus and see subsets of students walled off from each other, with strictly timed access to cafeteria and libraries. Sad, indeed.
- Deasy’s i-Pad project is a mockery of solid, thoughtful tech education. Tech tools should be in every classroom – in the hands of trained teachers who have had ample time to pre-plan new lesson plans and prototype new ways of teaching. This didn’t happen. We learned at the Budget Committee meeting that wireless upgrades to 1,100 campuses are proceeding at snail’s pace. The 3-year i-Pad warranty will end before many students even get to power on!
- Apple’s pricing is predatory, with virtually no discounts until 400,000 units are purchased at high price. The model is already out-of-date and Pearson software is in pre-sale status. The procurement appears to anoint and position Pearson as the district’s CCSS future test vendor even though the state has made not final decision on CCSS. (Thank you, Mr. Aquino.)
- There is a new public perspective emerging. Across the country, American communities are getting the point. Privatizing Supervisors like John Deasy push for policies that benefit the deepest pockets – the same ones that are devoted to outsourcing jobs, evading taxes, overturning worker protections in general attempting to remake society in a mold they prefer. There may be a veneer of ‘equality’ and ‘civil rights’ in the rhetoric, but ultimately the middle class will suffer and communities lose control over public resources.
Enough! Enough chaos, enough political plows by Deasy and his fake resignations and calling in chips from well-funded civic groups that are business and charter-friendly. Let him move on to a sinecure with Pearson or Apple. He’ll be fine. And Los Angeles will be better off with a new Superintendent who values the Public Commons.
Each of you will evaluate Deasy as you prefer. That is your role. Regardless of the outcome, parents, teachers and social justice activists will continue to press for amply-funded, equitable, public education that meets the needs of our kids and of our city.
Roberta Eidman MPH