Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Between The World and John Deasy - LA Progressive

Between The World and John Deasy - LA Progressive:

Between The World and John Deasy

John Deasy Ta-Nehisi Coates Letter




Dear Professor Ta-Nehisi Coates:
I am writing in response to an open letter that was recently addressed to you asking for your attention and admiration. It was written by the disgraced former superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, John Deasy.
I realize, Mr. Coates, that you are not reading this article. I doubt that you read John Deasy’s either. John Deasy did not write it for you. The obsequious screed addressed to you was really for himself and the sponsors of his next “private-public” agenda: Alternative Juvenile Prisons.
So, I will address the same people whom John Deasy was addressing by similarly using you as my pseudo-conduit (NOTE: My exploitation of your name and works is at least honest). I hope you won’t mind being the vehicle for my Public Service Announcement.
John Deasy’s address to you was published in The 74, one of the primary voices of the extremely well-funded Education Reform Movement. Its founder, Campbell Brown, has accrued a number of Republican and wealthy Neo-Liberal Democrats to push their education agenda through its editorial advocacy. John Deasy is one of the stars of this movement.
Professor Coates, as an admirer of your landmark book and your other writings as well (hearty shout out to the new Black Panther comic!), I would like to give you an opposing viewpoint on John Deasy and provide an alternative insight into his selfish, education political agenda.
First off, you should know that I taught in AP English, Philosophy and Film in a high school in LAUSD for over twenty years. I am a National Board Certified Teacher who uses literature and film as a way of expanding the world for my students to inform their own political and cultural consciousness. I am most proud of the fact that so many of my former students have gone on to college and adult life politically engaged, working in areas to promote social justice.

Looking back, the leadership of John Deasy at LAUSD was one of the most arrogantly destructive eras of my pedagogical lifetime.

Looking back, the leadership of John Deasy at LAUSD was one of the most arrogantly destructive eras of my pedagogical lifetime. His tenure at LAUSD was marked by a raging autocratic management style where he took unilateral actions to further the corporate education agenda of Big Business—all justified under a mask of civil rights “urgency.” Indeed “Dr.” Deasy is as adept as the Koch Brothers at appropriating the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to propel the interests of his benefactors, and in the process his own.
This is old news for those of us in LA. But for the uninitiated: Deasy’scurriculum vitae has always defined his policies. It is a Who’s Who of America’s most powerful entrepreneurs.
John Deasy is a man who has enjoyed a whole lifetime of white privilege and the patronage of very wealthy benefactors who have assisted him in every step of his education career. Their names are familiar to all of us: Gates. Annenberg. Broad. There’s hardly a billionaire to whom John Deasy hasn’t offered his services, and been rewarded handsomely.
John Deasy first came to prominence by attending the University of Louisville graduate school of education. He was invited to study there by a professor named Robert Felner.
Deasy’s and Felner’s careers overlapped in Rhode Island, where Felner served as director of the University of Rhode Island’s School of Education from 1996 to 2003 and Deasy served as a local school superintendent from 1996 to 2001.
A year after taking over as superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in 2001, Deasy recommended that his school system pay $125,000 for a survey performed by the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy, run by Felner. The survey was later Between The World and John Deasy - LA Progressive:

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