From coast to coast, corporate 'reform' school chiefs defying courts and boards

While Paul Vallas makes his George Wallace-style stance in the schoolhouse door for the sake of the children of Bridgeport, Connecticut, another corporate "reform" chieftain, John Deasey (Los Angeles) is having a confrontation with the Los Angeles school board, which is ordering him to prepare a budget to reduce class size now that California is becoming more happy financially.

The Vallas story is still being reported, here and elsewhere. Most recently, a Connecticut court not only ruled that Vallas was not qualified under Connecticut law to be Superintendent of Bridgeport schools (all he had to do is complete a program -- that might take a year -- to get certified).

Meanwhile, Deasey, whose views on how to reform urban schools run parallel to Michelle Rhee and the products of the Broad Foundation (like Chicago's Barbara Byrd Bennett) is criticizing his school board which wants to reduce class size.

Diane Ravitch reports on her blog (July 12):

Deasy Defies New L.A. Board Majority

by dianerav

When the Los Angeles school board prepared to elect a new president, Superintendent John Deasy let it be known that he might resign if Richard Vladovic won the election.

Vladovic won by 5-2. The two nay votes came from outgoing president Monica Garcia and her ally Tamar Galatzan.

Before the election, there were rumors that Vladovic was under investigation for verbally abusing board employees, and newspaper accounts suggested that Deasy was trying to derail his candidacy. That did not help their working relationship.

Th new board passed a resolution endorsing class size reduction, a measure opposed by Deasy. Deasy favored a motion by Galatzan proposing more money for high-needs students, which was postponed by the board.

In a show of defiance, Deasy said he wouldcomply with the resolution that was not passed because the board did not forbid him from doing it. Deasy opposes reduced class size because it will mean hiring more staff.

This is what he told the LA School Report (a pro-corporate reform newspaper):

“The Board voted down the directive to have me come and do it,” said Deasy, referring to Galatzan’s local spending resolution. “[But] they can’t stop me from doing it; we’re doing it anyway. If they had voted to prevent me from doing it… well they didn’t think of that.”

"The Superintendent explained that the future spending plan the Board ordered him to produce will comply with the Board-passed Kayser resolution regarding staffing (or as Deasy derisively called it, a “directive to hire every human being on the West Coast”) but will also include some form of the local spending plan he and Galaztan have been advocating."

When the unions learned that Deasy would ignore the board vote, they wrote a letter to the board.

They raised the question about why Deasy intended to flout the authority of the board he works for.

With a number of strong wills converging, this will be worth watching.

Bottom line: How long will Deasy last as an employee of a board whose leadership he does not like or trust, and how long will the board tolerate insubordination by Deasy?

dianerav | July 12, 2013 at 9:00 am | Categories: Los Angeles | URL:


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