Tuesday, January 13, 2015



Ousting Supt. John Deasy, would hurt students.
by Jamie Alter Lynton
The leadership of the Los Angeles teachers union recently conducted a survey among its members  as if they had confidence in Los Angeles Unified Supt. John Deasy. Although it was highly unusual for the union to mount this kind of frontal attack on the superintendent, the maneuver wouldn't have raised eyebrows had it not been for the union's full-court press to influence the vote.
This alone speaks volumes . I don't know how long you have had your beak in what you think is YOUR business , but this is public education, lady, and you affluent , tax dodging , elite prep school educated types really don't have any stake in LA's schools except the one you and your casino capitalist cronies are trying to drive through public education's heart. The heart of American schools is its teachers and I feel confident I speak for them when I say WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH! We are sick of corruption incompetence and your God damned testing . We are tired of white chalk criminals who are permitted to jack funding from our schools to facilitate a free market free for all from which you and your fellow Imperialists profit as hedge fund mercenaries, non profit grafters , billionaire boot lickers , impervious grifters , and political puppetry. We are not having it anymore.
Here's a little fact to chew and check on:

AJ Duffy was a pugilist , the man for whom unions earned the title "thuggery" and his legendary press conferences made he and Ramon CORTINES look like the Punch and Judy show. 
So that cartoon is hardly unprecedented. In this vaguely contained threat , you betray both ignorance as well as arrogance by, more importantly , an association with the union,m which you're bitch slapping for a pathetic concession to its members that lampoons an array of issues in a broad , hapless cartoon that perfectly illustrates just how seriously the union takes what is going on. They are in on it, but Fletcher had to address the chaos he was facilitating, and tried to JUSTIFY his lampooning  TO DEASY by issuing  a survey that earnest union activists had urged all along, and in fact, are standard function of almost any organization to determine what a given demographic is inclined to think or know. Kind of like your precious tests, no? I guess it comes down to which came first, the chicken or the egg. In other words, did UTLA post some stupid cartoon telling teachers what they think or did teachers express these concerns to Fletcher , who we can prove was in Deasy's corner and actually helped him dispose of thousands of veteran teachers , cheating them out of retirement benefits and ultimately destroying their lives with lies. What's more he sent Broad trained saboteurs to destroy any shreds of success or community in campus culture and UTLA stood aside and let it happen . We know. Do you know? There is the Broad Prize Question!  Do you know what is going on in schools on the Harbor Gateway? Watts? Have you ever stepped foot in a hood ? 
 Moreover, why are you Deasy's overzealous defender when that lampooning is obscurely published on the union web site , not in public like this foolish outburst or those scathing lies you tell about us on LASR and distribute as a biased source to the Daily News and to Huffington Post, which may be the most widely read news venue on the planet?
I bet you consider yourself quite the crusader, a real tough cookie yet an altruist with political acumen and a big fat wallet . I hate to smash your delusions . All right, I would love to smash them, but I am not that foolish. You're not one for epiphanies . Still it bears stating that Deasy's ego is eager to find balm in media and the weak, weak forum of LA Times Editorial Page is always eager to stroke him . It doesn't hurt to pad the dominant narrative. Not him, anyway. 
And you? You are his well trained but vicious muppet . Unfortunately , you are a mediocre student at best, as any student of journalism , even those LAT hacks and sycophants like Barbara Jones,  know better than to pull the stunts you have. What you apparently also lack is cunning, a double edged sword, as it turned out because we have deconstructed your blog stories without much trouble . Hell, we all but own it by way of comments . It is one place we can address the fuckery. We know when it stings because this the stuff that  is flung at us in defense of the LASR censorship your editor must chastise commenters for when we cross your imaginary yet arbitrary lines . The poor man sends emails that betray the same uneasy lexicon of a professional whose ethics are held hostage. Teachers can relate. 

But I get it , you can't  and neither can Deasy: you're that far gone. It is abundantly clear that an unprecedented outbreak of sociopathy has infected the upper echelon . I know, I am just a teacher, but I have a theory that deregulation has something to do with it.  
I am going to stop here for now, Your Highness. I want to let you digest that, and frankly, temperance is my weakest virtue when it comes to reformers,  but when I come back I have some questions for you . Don't make me sue you for a CPRA FOIA violations!  REMEMBER: transparency . We will pick it up here. Until then. 

Not only did the union send out misleading information about Deasy's record, it also posted unflattering, juvenile caricatures of him on its website.
So it wasn't much of a surprise when the vote went overwhelmingly against Deasy. But it almost certainly left a lot of people in Los Angeles wondering what the superintendent had done to raise the union's wrath.
There's no question that the forceful and popular superintendent is shaking things up: In two years, he has pushed the Los Angeles Unified School District, one of the lowest-performing districts in the country, toward significant progress. He has promoted ideas that are good for students, such as expanding school choice through charters and other options. He has pushed to improve the quality of teaching and administration, in part through developing a fair measure of teacher performance and finding ways to keep good teachers, not just those with seniority. Some of these ideas are new to Los Angeles, but they are hardly radical and are all supported by the Obama administration and top educators across the country.
Since becoming superintendent in 2011, Deasy has conducted a massive overhaul of the district's byzantine organizational structure, cutting more than 50% of the central office staff and restructuring regional offices to focus on one of his primary goals: training principals to be better leaders so they in turn can support good teachers.
And the results are starting to come in. The district is seeing more students graduating with fewer dropping out; an increase in the number of students taking Advance Placement exams; a 50% drop in suspensions; and students who lack English language proficiency are becoming English speakers, readers and writers at a much faster rate. Overall, student achievement (as measured by the state), though still too low, continues to rise steadily, even in the face of last year's budget crisis.
Still, Deasy's popularity and direct approach have been seen by United Teachers Los Angeles as immensely threatening. The union plays an outsized role in Los Angeles, in large part because we are one of the last large cities in which the superintendent reports to an elected school board, not the mayor. For years, the union has been able to influence board elections, which tend to have quite low turnout, and put its candidates on the board. But now, by targeting Deasy, it risks alienating even its handpicked candidates. Steve Zimmer, a school board member the union spent $920,000 defending just last month, publicly supports Deasy.
Meanwhile, the union is becoming ever more entrenched in its outdated positions, spurred on by pressure from a contingent of teachers who would like to see the union take an even harder line against change. Pressure from within the ranks has cast the union ever more in the role of obstacle. The union has opposed streamlining the dismissal process of teachers accused of sex crimes; the recent launch of "Breakfast in the Classroom," which provides nutrition to children in need and is now bringing in $6 million in federal money to the district a year; and the "parent trigger" law, which allows parents to petition to transform a low-performing school.
Most spectacularly, union leadership stood in the way of submitting an application for a multimillion-dollar federal Race to the Top grant late last year because it couldn't come to an agreement with the superintendent about teacher evaluations. When it finally did reach a quite modest agreement, union hard-liners thought that UTLA chief Warren Fletcher had caved.
As the intransigence and fervor of the union deepens, its stated core mission — to fight for teachers' rights — puts it further and further from what we should all be talking about: How do we best serve the interest of students?
Imagine this in terms of a baseball team: What if, instead of managers setting lineups, the players union was allowed to mandate that the pitching rotation should be based solely on seniority? What if they decided that stats or behavior couldn't be used to determine when to make a trade? Would we expect that team to win?
The analogy goes only so far, but it points to the deep conflict of interest created when a school board is put in place by the union it then must bargain with on teacher contracts. Can board members with strong ties to the union and its campaign dollars be expected to make an independent decision about the superintendent? It's a question worth asking. The board already has a vocal contingent of members supported by the union, and it could add another in the May election.
Great teachers, something this district is blessed to have an abundance of, are key to any successful strategy for improving schools, and teachers unions have an important role to play too. But common sense dictates that the teachers union should not be calling the shots on whether the superintendent should be retained, or on a host of other policies.
In the end, what's best for students should always come first.

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Be civil . Not obedient.