Since he was hired in 2011, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy has shaken up the 2nd-largest school system in the nation and has thrust himself into the middle of a huge debate over how to fix the ailing school system.
His biggest aim has been to go after bad teachers, and in his first year the LAUSD fired 99 tenured teachers — a 30-fold increase from five years earlier. He’s also worked to speed up the process for dismissing teachers charged with serious misconduct, and earlier this year he adopted a teacher evaluation policy that rates teachers largely on student test scores.
Deasy points to improving graduation rates and API (Academic Performance Index) scores in his two years since becoming Superintendent, but the teacher’s union has taken serious issue with Deasy's cavalier approach. Recently union members voted overwhelmingly that they had "no confidence" in Deasy, and next month they plan to present to the school board demands to put less emphasis on teacher evaluations and focus instead on fully staffing schools, restoring money for preschool and adult education programs, and raising salaries.
Deasy also faces a growing national wave of criticism of heavy student testing, and a recent study also reports that the level of interest in the teaching profession is in decline in Los Angeles. John Deasy joins AirTalk to respond to his critics, address the teacher investigations and explain why there's a drop in people interested in teaching careers.
John Deasy, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent