By Saba Partovi
Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) may have removed itself from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) by going charter in 2003, but that does not mean that the school district does not affect us. Superintendent John Deasy’s, 53, resignation impacts GHCHS as well.
On Thursday Oct. 16, Deasy announced his resignation in a statement with the Board of Education. Deasy served three years as superintendent of LAUSD, and had a contract with the Board that was supposed to end in 2016.
“Needless to say this has been hard work, in fact, exhausting work,” Deasy wrote in his resignation letter. “I have neglected my family, my health, and my parents’ heath. This [was an] amazing opportunity and privilege. I am proud and honored, but it is time for a transition.”
The Board of Education has appointed former Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines to serve as temporary head of the district.
While Cortines’ age raises some eyebrows, the real question remains: Why did Deasy resign in the first place?
There is no doubt that Deasy has been under fire with the Board due to controversy over technology mishaps, like the rollout of a $1.3 billion iPad program.
The program, proposed by Deasy, promised to put an iPad into the hands of every student and teacher by the end of this year.
However, Deasy cut the plan short after the Board discovered unlawful bidding between the Superintendent and the corporations that funded the tablets.
Similarly, LAUSD staff members and families criticized Deasy after a court case that struck down teacher tenure laws in California. In the Vergara v. California trial that overturned the state’s laws governing teacher tenure, Deasy was the prosecution’s star witness.
Like most of the district’s associates, school board member Steve Zimmer believed that Deasy seemed to enjoy taking down laws that were put in place to protect the 28,000 teachers he led.
“Deasy wasn’t careful enough to avoid the perception that he enjoyed using the sledgehammer. He fought for things he really believed in, which is fine, but he wasn’t careful about how it would be perceived by the people who have to teach our kids everyday,” Zimmer said to the Los Angeles Times.
While it is still too early to conclude whether or not Deasy’s resignation was forced by the Board, one thing is for sure: the future of LAUSD schools and GHCHS will face considerable changes.
LAUSD is now planning to focus on reviving student education and will work on restoring lost expenditures. Deasy’s departure signals the district’s hopes to change the past.