The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

L.A.’s New School Superintendent:
In the Billionaires’ Pocket

Jan 24, 2011

The Los Angeles Board of Education selected John Deasy as the next superintendent of schools behind closed doors. The school board made sure there was no public input – at least not from the communities that the schools are supposed to serve, or from the teachers and other employees who actually do the work.

And no wonder. Deasy is a stalking horse for the rich and powerful. He was trained by a foundation presided over by Eli Broad, a billionaire banker and real estate magnate, the same foundation which influenced Robert Bobb, the hatchet man in Detroit, and Michelle Rhee, the destroyer of D.C. public schools.

Deasy also served as a high- paid senior administrator at the foundation set up by Bill Gates, the richest man on the planet, and another proponent of privatizing public schools for the benefit of the wealthy.

Central to Deasy’s agenda is to use student test scores as a pretext to lower teachers’ pay and to fire many of them. Behind this blatant attack on teachers is a hidden attack on the students they teach.

Deasy’s justification for tying testing to teacher pay and evaluations is that it promotes accountability. But Deasy is the last person to speak about accountability. Deasy’s mentor, Robert Felner, pleaded guilty of defrauding two universities of millions of dollars, and is currently serving a 63-month sentence in federal prison. When Deasy pursued a doctoral university degree at one of those schools, Felner, who was his adviser, granted Deasy what the Los Angeles Times called “an unusual waiver that allowed Deasy to finish his doctorate course work in one semester.” Deasy then turned around and rewarded Felner a lucrative consulting contract with the Santa Monica school district – which Deasy headed at the time.

It’s just one more example of the sleazy revolving door between big corporate money and those who today have pushed themselves into top positions in school systems, to the detriment of the students, the teachers and the cities in which they live.