By Ellen Lubic
(Ellen Lubic is Director of Joining Forces for Education and a public policy educator in Los Angeles. She is an occasional contributor to CityWatch. Her views are her own.)
Finally the lack of transparency of the mismanaged leadership of LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy is seeing the light of day. The excellent investigative journalism by the LA Times education reporter, Howard Blume, and KPCC’s detailed and informed reporter, Annie Gilbertson, has opened up the stench of the secret deals and waste of taxpayer funds that Deasy manipulated throughout his tenure, and is now exposed for all to see.
Many in the public were shocked that his contract was renewed last October after the $1 Billion iPad scandal was published not only in LA, but all over the US. And now we have the proof of the secret deals he cut with Apple and Pearson.
We see as evidence the actual emails and signed contracts that he put taxpayers on the hook for in so many ways, from using 30 year payback with interest of the Construction Bond money he negotiated to pay for this fiasco, to claiming it was a civil rights issue for inner city students to have these top of the line but soon to be obsolete devices, when actually it was a Broad Academy-taught business model for huge “free market” profits.
Deasy has been a disaster at LAUSD from the beginning when Eli Broad and Tony Villaraigosa imposed his hiring without further search by the Board of Education. This power play led to ongoing conniving and mendacity that is now beginning to open up for public inspection.
Deasy’s first big decision to rush all Mira Monte teachers into “teacher jail” so as to punish them for guilt by association with the one teacher who was an abuser, caused many fine teachers to lose their good reputations while they and the young students they served were permanently traumatized.
We the taxpayers are paying ongoing for the many lawsuits that were initiated due to this LAUSD mismanagement. The plethora of hidden lawsuits filed by parents, wounded teachers, and so many others, will strain the over burdened taxpayers of LA County for years to come, due to Deasy’s lack of judgment and leadership ability.
And we cannot forget the phony PhD he got in four months with only 9 units of work, and awarded to him by the same U. of Louisville administrator he later hired as a consultant and whom he paid over $375,000 of school district funds. This university pirate was subsequently convicted of felonious theft from his own university. We are indeed judged by the company we keep.
Thereafter, a continuing series of terrible management by Deasy is clear to one and all, from embedding charter schools to comply with his mentor Eli Broad and the Wall Street privatizers of public education, to firing teachers for no apparent reason and/or sending them to teacher jail as he did with the award winning and widely respected and beloved choir director at Crenshaw HS, his testifying for the Vergara plaintiffs against his own teachers so he could “fire teachers rapidly,” to making Jaime Aquino take the fall for the iPads fiasco, and now Deasy is still spinning it that it was exclusively all Aquino’s fault when Deasy actually hired Aquino only weeks after becoming Superintendent and knowing Jaime has just worked for Pearson.
Also for Deasy’s own gig as the “face of iPad” in its advertising and as a stockholder of Apple, to the horror right now of MiSiS which is his baby and which as a tech system, failed miserably these last weeks, leaving tens of thousands of LAUSD students without their classroom assignments. There are so many instances of his bullying executive style which further show this man’s inability to run a Dollar Store much less LAUSD which is the second largest school district in the nation.
Never mind the photo ops of him sitting with little children of color eating breakfast in their classrooms, while the food being served them has been said to be outdated. He uses inner city bussed in and often paid actors to support his ostensible liberal civil rights stances in their behalf, orchestrating and stacking the deck for media attention, and then bussing them back to their inner city communities.
These are not the true parents who recently attended a CSUN sponsored parents meeting, and as valid and identified parents spoke out, on the record, about how LAUSD disrespects them and does not afford them a venue to express their complaints about inner city students education.
The operant question last year used to be, after the first round of the iPads purchased from Apple at higher than retail cost and with no plan as to how to use them, nor insurance issues, nor WiFi and keyboard costs not figured into the budget, why was his contract renewed? In private industry he would have been summarily fired.
Now, with all this evidence that shows his poor leadership skills and mendacious approach in covering up his faults with spin doctoring, we still ask why he has not been fired? We should all be calling for an external independent audit of these possibly fraudulent, but definitely mismanaged, spending of our public funds to the detriment of our public schools and the students and parents. And we should further all be demanding a Grand Jury investigation of this putrid affair.
The LAUSD Board of Education is Deasy’s boss, and We the People are their boss, so please make your voices loud and clear to them, and to the media, and to each other, that those complicit in this mess that is LAUSD must all be investigated right now with both an external independent audit and a Grand Jury investigation.