Los Angeles teachers overwhelmingly expressed “no confidence” in L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy in the first vote of its kind in the nation’s second-largest school system.
Over the weeklong referendum that ended Wednesday, more than 90% of teachers expressed disapproval of Deasy, with about 17,700 of the union’s more than 30,000 members casting ballots, the teachers union announced Thursday.
The superintendent called the vote “nonsense” even before knowing its outcome, and a group of civic leaders rallied to Deasy’s defense. But United Teachers Los Angeles said it would now press more assertively against Deasy initiatives that have made the city a crucible for education debates playing out across the country.
Deasy has angered some teachers by pushing for an evaluation system that includes the use of student standardized test scores. He also has tried to limit job and seniority protections and to speed up the dismissal of teachers accused of serious misconduct or ineffectiveness in the classroom.
Still, a “no confidence” vote was not necessarily a foregone conclusion. The referendum came soon after union members overwhelmingly approved a new teacher evaluation agreement and after the restoration of unpaid furlough days. The measure was placed before teachers by a vote of the union’s House of Representatives, which contains many new delegates and younger teachers, who were presumed to be more supportive of Deasy.
The union lobbied heavily for an anti-Deasy vote on its website, including by using doctored photos of Deasy in various unflattering guises.
“Time and again, Supt. Deasy makes decisions that shortchange students for the benefit of his private agenda,” according to a statement on the United Teachers Los Angeles website.
Chris Records, a teacher at Marquez High School, sided with Deasy.
“I’ve been encouraged by some of the moves that he’s made, specifically in supporting administrators and teachers,” Records said. “I liked what he did with evaluations, how he worked with UTLA on the compromise evaluation system.”