Los Angeles’ school politics is beginning to sound like a soap opera. Tune in next week to see if long-suffering Superintendent John Deasy, much admired by billionaire Eli Broad, survives yet another unjust attack at the hands of the brutes who disapprove of the $1.3 billion iPad fiasco, the bungled computer mess, the other snafus unjustly laid at the feet of a man guilty only of caring too much. Forget the emails showing possible collusion between Deasy and Apple, Deasy and Pearson. What matters details like this when a great man is in our midst, loved and appreciated most by those too rich to patronize the schools he oversees. Never forget: every organization funded by Bill Gates adores this man: think Educators 4 Excellence; think United Way of Los Angeles.
It was not enough that the LA Times’ editorial writer Karin Klein paid him tribute and chastised the LAUSD for seeking to hold him accountable: how dare they! Now her boss Jim Newton weighs in with another full-throated defense of the Indispensable Man. Okay, says Newton, so his handling of the $1.3 billion deal for the iPads was “admittedly sloppy.” Well, “sloppy” is one way to characterize the friendly negotiations between Deasy and Apple. Others might have less kindly words. Like, why did LA have to buy an obsolete model at a higher than retail price? Why did Deasy think that buying iPads mattered more than repairing schools, which the voters wanted in the first place? What part of 25-year construction bond approved by the electorate did Deasy misunderstand?
Do read Jim Newton’s apologia for Deasy. All of his errors on blamed on the Board, for daring to expect accountability, and on the union for…. for being the union, always a ready scapegoat for the editorial board of the L.A. Times, even for matters in which the u ion had no role.
Stay tuned. This is the soap opera that ends in tragedy or never ends at all.
But also read this letter to the editor, which I post in full, in case it gets deleted:
Offred Gillead on September 29, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am said:
We have officially entered into a super bizzaro, gothic world with Jim Newton.
With his Emily Bronte opening: “There’s a storm cloud gathering over Los Angeles politics these days” before moving into gaunt, haunted purple poignancy, “It’s taking a toll on the superintendent. I visited him in his office last week…he looked drawn. Already slight, he’s lost weight.”
Deasy’s rich, cultish supporters, have always given us a variation of THE MARTYRDOM OF JOHN DEASY. I tingle over Newton’s words like “have been dragged across these coals” and “put through the local grinder”.
Okay. I get it.
I’m really reading 50 SHADES OF DEASY, a story that makes Deasy’s backers swoon.
Newton says, “Deasy has made matters worse by some admittedly sloppy handling of a deal intended to put iPads in the hands of students.” Really? “Admittedly?” When did Deasy EVER admit to this?
Newton tells us, “So, what’s not to like? By his own admission, Deasy can be bullheaded and impatient.”
Ana Steele could understand that. She might say, like Newton, “No one is suggesting he did anything for personal gain, but his trademark impatience may have left him…vulnerable.”
Sensitive and obsessively-driven! Like Moses! Dr. Frankenstein! Ahab! Hamlet! Dr. Strangelove!
Deasy confides, “‘I could have done a thousand things better,’ he conceded during our conversation.”
Really? How about naming ONE thing, Doc?
In Deasy’s perverse brain, his biggest fault is that he CARES TOO MUCH. He is TOO MUCH of a perfectionist. His only goal is to lift children out of poverty and has to put up with hundreds who stand in his way.
“He’s quick to correct and sometimes short-tempered….Even Deasy’s critics acknowledge that he is a powerful intellect and a determined education reformer.”
Karl Rove also breathlessly informed us that George Bush was the smartest person he ever met and, famously, “The Decider”.
I don’t know what Christian Grey non-disclosure contract might have gotten signed between the two, but the Op-Ed hints: “But here’s the perversity of punishing Deasy for aggressiveness…”
Do we really need to read the whole trilogy to find out where this story ends? I hope the BOE has the good taste to call this series quits.