It's been a rough week for John Deasy on The Times' letters page — and he shouldn't expect the vitriol to let up any time soon, judging by the relentlessness and tone of the attacks.
Since Jim Newton's column on Sunday and subsequent articles on the embattled Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent's future, nearly 50 readers have sent us their thoughts on Deasy — and only one (published along with three critical letters Wednesday) has supported him. Many of his critics, including teachers, criticize the superintendent on substantive grounds, but a good portion are dismissive of any praise or credit given to Deasy.
Brandon Abraham of Los Angeles, an LAUSD teacher, says much has changed in a year:
We know that the base of Deasy's support in LAUSD comes from business and civic leaders. While the Board of Education decided last year to retain the current superintendent, the situation has changed.
We now know about how the iPad program was mismanaged while schools remain in disrepair, about the new computer system keeping students in auditoriums and out of classes, and about an autocratic manner with district personnel, students, parents and teachers.
It's time for a change in leadership in L.A. Unified.
Former United Teachers Los Angeles President John Perez praises teachers for the improvements credited to Deasy:
Deasy gets credit for the increase in test scores and graduation rates. How many students has Deasy taught since becoming superintendent?
It was the hard work of the teachers, under extremely difficult circumstances, that has caused the upward arc of student achievement. Superintendents don't teach and principals don't teach — teachers teach. Everyone leaves out of the equation the primary reason test scores and graduation rates go up: the classroom teacher.
The teachers, through their agent, UTLA, want what is best for their students. UTLA wants lower class sizes because studies show that when class sizes go down, the students who benefit most are those who live in poverty, like the vast majority of LAUSD students.
If people listened to teachers, test scores would really go up.
Elaine Totten of Oxnard is suspicious of LAUSD's better numbers:
Deasy gets too much credit. The number of graduating seniors should be taken with a grain of salt.
A higher graduation rate has nothing to do with college and career readiness, which those who teach in two- and four-year institutions know is a joke.
L.A. Unified might be graduating more seniors, but not all those seniors should have really graduated. Principals are under pressure to raise the graduation rate, therefore putting teachers under pressure to lower the bar.
A higher graduation rate only makes principals and Deasy look good on paper, but far too many high school graduates have to take remedial English in college.