If John Deasy is resigning of his own accord or he is soon to be fired, his potential departure as superintendent of the LA Unified School District further undermines leadership of the city’s public education community at a time of massive change and uncertainty.
Whether a victim of policies judged too aggressive by a conservative board or his own frustrations with it, Deasy would leave LA Unified rudderless amid the district’s shift to a challenging new instructional curriculum, turmoil over teacher evaluations, controversy over the iPad rollout, uncertainty over the use of student test scores, mounting conflict over new revenue from the state, tenuous relations with the teachers union and, of course, strong disagreements with a school board that clearly dislikes many of his policy choices.
“He just can’t get anything done,” a district official said of Deasy’s relationship with the board. “They block everything he tries to do. If he can’t move them, why would he want to stay?”
Further, his leadership team is already without a permanent chief deputy of instruction — the current deputy, Jaime Aquino, has announced that he, too, is leaving — and the board with which he must work smoothly if not happily, has been weakened by a president facing charges of sexual harassment, verbal abuse and a censure motion by one of his own board colleagues.
Deasy has not confirmed a decision to step down. He has told various media outlets, including LA School Report, that he has not submitted a letter of resignation and would clarify his situation after the board conducts his annual performance review on Tuesday. Nonetheless, the union wasted little time, last night responding to the news as if it were a certainty, issuing a statement under the headline, “UTLA: It’s about time.” The first sentence: “It is no secret that UTLA has had major concerns with John Deasy’s leadership.”