I was interested in the fact that the scandal over Deasy's PhD hit the headlines at the same time he was hired by Gates. His financial connections with Robert Felner date back to his Santa Monica days — Susan Ohanian
Last week the Los Angeles press was effusive with anniversary homages to Eli Broad and Bill Gates' personally selected poverty pimp, Superintendent John Deasy. Short on facts and long on neoliberal cheerleading, the articles paint the man who has shuttered libraries and killed programs depended on by countless desperate poor and immigrant families as some kind of thoughtful hero. The Huffington Post jumped on the bandwagon, paying political tribute to the pirate king. My comments on The Huffington Post's Lucy Blodget's gushing love letter to Deasy are duplicated here:
The debut has been disastrous. Deasy squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on highly discredited programs like VAM/AGT. He spent millions more on costly tests that aren't mandated. Meanwhile, programs critical to impoverished and immigrant communities were cut entirely including: SRLDP, EEC, Elementary Arts, and Adult Education. I document much of Deasy's 1% spending spree in NCL: http://blog.ncladvocacy.org/2012/03/on-adult-educations-critical-role-in-social-justice-2/#notes
Peer reviewed academic studies find only three things improve student performance when poverty is accounted for. Reduced class size, teacher experience, and access to books. My Schools Matter writing colleague Professor Krashen has done expensive research on the latter. Deasy's response to allowing poor children access to books? Close countless school libraries and fire numerous librarians, while telling poor children to buy iPads. I discuss this tragic incident in: http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/09/john-deasys-queen-antoinette-moment-let.html
Others mentioned his stealing Title I and III funds to pay for his VAM/AGT white whale, and elimination of the only voice community and parents had in councils. Eliminating parental input, he brings in the vile Maria Casillas, whose long career in service to the lucrative charter-voucher industry belies Deasy's purposes.
On balance Deasy has been everything one would expect the plutocrats Broad and Gates to unleash on the working people of Los Angeles. We need a schoolboard that will eliminate him and get a superintendent that will place pupils above profits.
I also took issue with another Deasy fanfare in the Los Angeles Times, but chose to comment on a single turn of phrase which was incredulous, even by their standards.
One of you penned: "...diverse organizations as the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, the Urban League and InnerCity Struggle, an Eastside community group."
Since both Urban League and Inner City Struggle are funded by the United Way, just how "diverse" are these groups?
Moreover, outside the plutocrat Billionaire Boys Club that comprises United Way's Tocqueville Society, the vast majority of their donors are the well heeled and quite reactionary members of the Chamber of Commerce.
In other words, diversity would be the last word that one would use to describe an essentially monolithic set of groups with an identical right-wing privatization agenda.
Two recent essays speaking truth to Deasy's power are valuable and enjoyable reads.
- LAUSD’s Dark Lord, Dr. John Deasy
- by John Mears
- LAUSD Superintendent of Schools John Deasy Must Go
- by Joseph K.
Of course, if my current endeavors are successful, one of the first things I'll do is push to start a search for a qualified Superintendent for LAUSD, since no such search was conducted when Ramon Cortines stepped down.
The Susan Ohanian piece quoted above says: "Many speculate that the Gates job was just a holding pattern for the Los Angeles appointment, which will give him the opportunity to turn LA in to the Gates model district." The broad base of community members, parents, and educators that I work with on a constant basis don't want a "Gates model district," we want a social justice model district.