As regular readers know, this blog posted intensive and critical coverage of the failed iPad fiasco in Los Angeles, thanks to the many Los Angeles friends who forwarded articles and commentary. At a time when the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times continued to defend the commitment of $1.3 Billion for iPads, I questioned the legality of spending voter-approved bond funds dedicated to capital projects on disposable iPads.
Make no mistake: the iPad deal was Superintendent John Deasy’s creation. He said it was a civil rights issue. Anyone who opposed it, in his telling, did not care about civil rights.
Of course, the done deal with Apple and Pearson collapsed when journalists obtained emails showing contacts between Deasy and the winners of the contract well before the bidding. The FBI scooped up many boxes of documents and is still investigating the deal. Deasy moved on and now works for Eli Broad, the billionaire leading the national charge to privatize public education. Broad’s legacy will be: “I tried to destroy American public education…..” And we hope to add these words to Broad’s legacy: “And I failed.”
But don’t forget: the iPad mess was Deasy’s baby.
Now, however, the charter school industry (Deasy’s allies) is attacking school board member Bennett Kayser for approving the iPad deal.
This is the definition of chutzpah. Kayser, a former teacher, is a strong supporter of public education and was a critic of Deasy and an advocate for charter school accountability and transparency. That makes him an enemy of the charter lobby, which raises vast sums to silence critics. Anyone who wants accountability from the charter industry is its enemy.
Kayser’s opponent in the May 19 election, Ref Rodriguez, says he would have been more responsible than Kayser in oversight of the iPad deal. This is laughable since Rodriguez’s charter chain was recently criticized by a state audit for its lax financial practices. Rodriguez is treasurer of his charter chain. He didn’t notice, for example, that the husband of a high-level employee of the chain won a contract for food services, worth millions of dollars. Ref may have many strengths, but financial oversight is not one of them. Given his financial backing by the charter-Broad crowd, he would have been a reliable vote for Deasy.
Don’t forget to vote on May 19.
Vote for Bennett Kayser, dedicated friend of students and public schools.