The Los Angeles Board of Education meets behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss the future of Supt. John Deasy.
Deasy last week told some top officials that he was considering leaving as head of the nation's second-largest school system. Deasy's action converted an annual performance evaluation, scheduled for Tuesday, into a potential leadership crisis.
Deasy's supporters responded by blaming the school board for Deasy's possible departure, and many are planning a rally on his behalf at district headquarters Tuesday morning. They also intend to pack the board chambers before the board takes up his evaluation in a private meeting.
The 52-year-old superintendent has faced increasing resistance to his policies as well as questions about his actions in recent months from the school board. Deasy, for example, has favored tying teacher raises to student performance on standardized tests and other incentives. Some board members prefer a raise without conditions and restoring staffing at schools to their levels before the recent recession. The schools chief also has faced scrutiny of his $1-billion plan to provide iPads to every student and teacher.
Supporters of Deasy insist that the superintendent is being driven out by political maneuvering and micromanagement on the part of the board.
On Tuesday, board member Steve Zimmer said a majority on the seven-member body wants Deasy to stay. If he leaves, said Zimmer, the decision will be Deasy's.
Events in L.A. Unified have attracted national attention, including from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who thinks Deasy and the board can continue to work together.
"I really hope that on all sides cool heads will prevail," Duncan said in an interview Monday. "It’s obviously been a hard and stressful time for folks and more than a little bit of L.A. drama. At the end of the day I think there’s good faith on both sides, and I hope that folks can find some common ground and maintain stability and continue to work together on behalf of children. Having drama, instability and turnover -- none of those things are good for children or education.”
He likened the relationship between the board and Deasy to "a marriage that has had a bump or two along the road. But you work through these things on behalf of children."