Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Accountability is for little people

I'll have more to say about the Vergara trial later but for now I'd like to point out one particularly egregious bit of hypocrisy from LAUSD superintendent John Deasy.
Once tenure was granted, dismissing a bad teacher became burdensomely difficult. And in times of budget cutbacks, the law required that the last teachers hired were the first fired, which robbed administrators of the ability to make layoff decisions on the basis of which teachers were most effective.

As a consequence of these laws, which were challenged in the Vergara lawsuit, too many students throughout the state have been saddled with grossly ineffective teachers, and administrators have had little power to remove them. Far too much of school districts' money and administrators' time has been spent trying to dismiss ineffective teachers — funds and time that could have been spent far more productively on improving education.
It is worth taking a moment to dwell on the sheer chutzpah of this editorial. Deasy is channeling the man who killed both of his parents then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan. He complains about budget cuts but omits to mention that one of the reasons that the LAUSD's finances look so bleak is because its superintendent was...

so stunningly arrogant as to propose $1 billion purchase of tablet computers for largely unproven educational approaches, while pushing brutal cuts in the schools...

so ethically challenged that, rather than seeking out competitive offers, he grossly overpaid and awarded contracts to companies with which he and members of his administration had inappropriately close relationships...

And finally, so freaking incompetent that he didn't bother to check the specs for the project before committing the schools to a billion-dollar purchase.

Deasy was a mediocre administrator before this fiasco hit, but even if he had been God's gift to education, there's no way he should have kept his job. Fortunately for him, though, he managed to luck out in at least three important ways: he came in with the right connections (particularly Eli Broad and Bill Gates); most major media outlets (especially, in this case, the LA Times) remain highly sympathetic to the education reform movement; and sadly, we live in a time when holding people at the top of an organization responsible for their failures has gone strangely out of style.

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