Search results for: "deasy"

Joshua Leibner wrote an open letter to celebrated author Ta-Nahisi Coates, with the expectation that Mr. Coates would never see the letter.

Leibner, an NBCT teacher in Los Angeles for 20 years, wrote this letter to counter an “open letter” that John Deasy had written to Ta-Nahisi Coates.

Leibner acknowledged that both of them were using the format to make a statement directed at the public, not the author.

He used his letter to excoriate Deasy and his fealty to the agenda of the Billionaire Boys Club.

If Deasy would like to respond to Joshua Leibner, I welcome his letter.

This is rich. The LA Times supported John Deasy’s every move when he was superintendent and ranked out his critics. Now the editorial board turns against him and says he had big visions but no follow through. It even calls Deasy’s $1.3 billion iPad plan a “fiasco.”

Says the editorial:
“What became apparent over time, though, was that setting high-profile goals was only one part of the job; where Deasy stumbled was in getting down to the unglamorous work of making those dreams come true through meticulous planning, accounting for contingencies and addressing valid concerns raised by others.
“As a result, Deasy left a legacy of big, bold plans but too few accomplishments. The iPads-for-all policy could reasonably be called a fiasco. The district was lambasted in independent investigations for buying problematic educational software and having little idea of how the new technology would even be used in classrooms. The college-prep graduation requirements had to be rolled back because they were imposed with little planning for how students would pass the necessary classes. Instead of fixing the district’s dysfunctional student scheduling system known as MISIS, he supported a lawsuit blaming the state for it.

“Too often, Deasy’s urgency meant that sweeping new policies were dumped in teachers’ laps without the support, explanation and assistance needed to make them work. Teachers’ concerns were too often dismissed as an unwillingness to change.”

A grou of “civic leaders” met with Los Angeles school board president Steve Zimmer to ask him to put them in charge of screening candidates for the new superintendent.

Some of these groups are funded by the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation, the Billionaire Boys Club. They supported Former superintendent John Deasy, whose autocratic style antagonized teachers and whose legally dubious iPad plan is under FBI investigation.

Of I recall correctly, some of these individuals helped build the multi-million war chest to defeat Steve Zimmer for re-election.

Oh, dear. How shocking it would be if the LAUSD board picked a leader who didn’t buckle to the pro-privatization gang? What if it were an educator who was unafraid of Eli Broad? He has admitted he knows nothing about education, but he can’t stop trying to control it with his billions.

John Deasy liked to dine in the best restaurants.

True, he didn’t bill for dinners at Per Se in Manhattan, where the average meal may cost $600 or more. (However, the list is just a small sampling of three years of expenses.)

Fortunately, Eli Broad and Casey Wasserman picked up many of these bills as a public service. Or maybe it was the taxpayers of Los Angeles.

It may be just a small sampling, but take a look at these swell meals.

Zahira Torres and Howard Blume wrote a blockbuster assessment of John Deasy’s tumultuous tenure as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School
District. Being good reporters, they bent over backwards to tell this sordid tale without rendering judgment. But the facts they present are damning. They were largely gathered from Deasy’s travel and expense records, which the reporters obtained by a Freedom of Information request.

1. He had a heavy travel schedule, which took him away from the district for 200 days. His travels interfered with his responsibilities.

“At key moments of tumult in the district, the records show, Deasy was simply not in town….

“The beginning of the end came a year ago, just before the school year started. Deasy was in New York to discuss challenges threatening education reform.

“Back at home, the city’s public schools were in disarray. By the time Deasy returned for the first day of classes, a malfunctioning scheduling system had forced students into gyms and auditoriums to await assignments. Some of them ended up in the wrong courses, putting their path to graduation in jeopardy.

“Two months later, in October, a Superior Court judge ordered state education officials to meet with Deasy to fix the scheduling problems that he said deprived students of their right to an education. But Deasy flew to South Korea the next morning to visit schools and meet government officials. A week later, he resigned, under pressure, as head of the nation’s second-largest school system.”

2. He spent lavishly on travel and meals; foundations with their own agenda subsidized his expenses.

“Deasy, who was paid $350,000 a year as superintendent, took more than 100 trips, spent generously on meals as he lobbied state and national lawmakers and wooed unions, foundations and educational leaders, according to credit card receipts, calendars and emails obtained under the California Public Records Act.

“Deasy spent about $167,000 on airfare, hotels, meals and entertainment during his tenure; half paid by philanthropists and foundations, and the other half by the district. Private foundations often make contributions to school districts, and the LAUSD’s position is that those funds can be used for the superintendent’s expenses.

“Among the philanthropists who subsidized his expenses, according to district records, were entertainment executive Casey Wasserman and Eli Broad, both of whom support education causes through their foundations.

“Deasy attended conferences and held meetings in cities including Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Seattle. The tab for an evening with teachers union officers at Drago Centro in Los Angeles ran to more than $1,000. During a one-night stay at the Four Seasons hotel in New York, for which he spent $900, he met, among others, Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and president of the Emerson Collective, which awards grants and invests in education initiatives.”

3. Deasy was hired without a national search. “Influential philanthropists” and then-Mayor Villaraigosa selected Deasy. We may safely assume that Eli Broadwas one of those influential philanthropists.

4. Deasy’s pals in Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and those “influential philanthropists” poured millions into school board elections to defeat Deasy critics and elect Deasy allies.

“Groups with ties to Silicon Valley and Wall Street have played growing roles in the education reform movement by donating to school board candidates. The Emerson Collective, along with Broad and others, put hundreds of thousands of dollars into campaigns for board members who supported Deasy’s goals.”

5. Despite his large salary, Deasy asked his powerful friends to pay for some of his expenses. Here is one example, that a tuay sounds humiliating to Deasy, who extends a begging bowl to Eli Broad.

“Some board members said they also worried that by requesting and accepting reimbursement for travel from Wasserman, Broad and others who supported his reform efforts, Deasy was creating the perception that he might give a special hearing to those donors.

“In an email, for example, Deasy sought a “scholarship” from Broad to attend a dinner in New York honoring two education leaders who shared his vision for turning around troubled school districts.

“Would Eli support my attendance at an event?” Deasy wrote in October 2011 to Gregory McGinity, a senior official with the Broad Foundation. “I do not have such means to buy the ticket myself…. Do you think he would ‘scholarship’ me?”

“The Broad Foundation reimbursed the district $1,400 for Deasy’s airfare and hotel. A board member of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan think tank hosting the event, covered the superintendent’s $1,500 ticket for the dinner, according to the email.”

6. Deasy’s iPad fiasco was a disaster that is now being investigated by the FBI.

“Deasy’s signature effort to provide iPads to all students failed, and the cost of untangling the troubled student records system has now topped $200 million.”

7. Deasy had to go not only because of the iPad mess and the disaster with the district’s computer programming, but because he testified for the plaintiffs when LAUSD was sued in the Vergara case, instead of testifying for the district he led.

“Board President Steve Zimmer said Deasy’s confrontational approach reached a breaking point for him when the superintendent became a star witness for the plaintiffs in Vergara vs. California.

“That case, now on appeal, was heralded by national school reformers for making it easier to fire teachers and ending the current practice of layoffs based on seniority. It angered teachers who believed that they were under constant attack from the superintendent, who did not consult the board about the litigation.

“Once he chose to do what he did in the way that he did it, I knew I could no longer support his superintendency,” Zimmer said. “There was no reason he had to be on that stand.”

And where does Deasy work now? For Eli Broad, training school district leaders based on his own experience as a leader of the reform movement.

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.

In case you were wondering where John Deasy would land next, after leaving the superintendency of Los Angeles, he will work at the Broad Superintendents Academy, an unaccredited training program which teaches school leaders business methods and supports charter schools and closing public schools.

Karin Klein of the Los Angeles Times wrote a blistering editorial about the LAUSD school board’s failure (thus far) to get to the bottom of departing Superintendent John Deasy’s $1.3 billion iPad deal.

 

Did the board agree to let him go quietly and to quash the investigation? That would be wrong. Klein rightly says: The public has a right to know.

 

In the separation agreement, the board said it “does not believe that the superintendent engaged in any ethical violations or unlawful acts.”
Why is the board voicing anything about its belief system while a second investigation is ongoing? There have been rumors that Deasy wanted this investigation to go away as part of his agreement; Deasy vehemently denies that. Although the inspector general is an independent office within the district, the board still has authority over the office’s budget, and there shouldn’t be anything that could be perceived as pressure on the investigation to go one way or another. The appropriate response from the board? Radio silence until the investigation is complete and reviewed by the district attorney’s office, as state law requires.

 

The problem is that, although the investigation might well find that nothing criminal happened, what if it finds some ethical issues? The board has promised to take no action against Deasy on that, which makes sense; probably the worst it would have done to him was ask him to leave, so the issue is moot. It could still take action against any employees remaining, but it’s unclear who those would be. Aquino’s already gone.

 

Unless the board decides to make both reports public, the rest of us will never know whether there was a problem with the way this was handled, or whether Deasy and Aquino were utterly exonerated. Both would be equally important to know. United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl, during a meeting with the Times’ editorial board Thursday, was already talking about Deasy’s “bid-rigging,” without so much as a qualifier, as though Caputo-Pearl had some kind of criminal divining rod. Reminded that we’re a long way from knowing whether there was anything wrong with those or any other emails, much less something criminally wrong, he corrected himself, adding a couple of “allegeds” to his words. There would always be a cloud over Deasy’s head, always these conversations in which he is “convicted” by words on an utter lack of evidence, unless an investigation is made public that clears him.

 

Or the opposite. Before the project was slowed, diversified and then suspended, the public almost spent half a billion dollars on iPads that were about to be made obsolete by new models, with software that hadn’t yet been completed. If there were ethical breaches, the public has a right to the truth in every detail.

 

The board’s appropriate response to an ongoing investigation should have been to say nothing except, “We look forward to a complete and unstinting investigation that we promise to make public.” Deasy’s departure shouldn’t alter the district’s commitment to the public in any way.

 

 

 

 

Howard Blume reports in the Los Angeles Times that Superintendent John Deasy is likely to step down as early as today.

He retained the fierce loyalty of business and civic leaders, but alienated teachers and parents. His flubs of key technology projects made his position untenable.

Blume reports that former superintendent Ramon Cortines is likely to be the interim superintendent. Cortines, 82, has served twice before as leader of the L.A. Schools.

Michael Janofsky reports in LA School Report that John Deasy may step down as early as tomorrow as Los Angeles Superintendent of Schools. Read here for the details.