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Los Angeles “iPad Fiasco” Former Supt. John Deasy Once Again in Charge of a CA School District…

August 1, 2018

John Deasy is the former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). After three-and-a-half years, in October 2014, Deasy resigned in the wake of a $1.3B iPad debacle coupled with a “robust travel schedule” that had Deasy out of town at times when LAUSD difficulties required a superintendent’s attention. From the September 2015 Los Angeles Times:

The beginning of the end came a year ago [in 2014], just before the school year started. Deasy was in New York to discuss challenges threatening education reform.

Back at home, the city’s public schools were in disarray. By the time Deasy returned for the first day of classes, a malfunctioning scheduling system had forced students into gyms and auditoriums to await assignments. Some of them ended up in the wrong courses, putting their path to graduation in jeopardy.

Two months later, in October, a Superior Court judge ordered state education officials to meet with Deasy to fix the scheduling problems that he said deprived students of their right to an education. But Deasy flew to South Korea the next morning to visit schools and meet government officials. A week later, he resigned, under pressure, as head of the nation’s second-largest school system. …

Deasy, who was paid $350,000 a year as superintendent, took more than 100 trips, spent generously on meals as he lobbied state and national lawmakers and wooed unions, foundations and educational leaders, according to credit card receipts, calendars and emails obtained under the California Public Records Act.

In October 2013, I wrote about Deasy and his usage of construction funds to support his purchase of botched iPads and the connections among Deasy, Gates, Pearson, and Apple. (Feel free to read it for some quick background.)

But back to the September 2015 Los Angeles Times article on Deasy:

Deasy spent about $167,000 on airfare, hotels, meals and entertainment during his tenure; half paid by philanthropists and foundations, and the other half by the district. Private foundations often make contributions to school districts, and the LAUSD’s position is that those funds can be used for the superintendent’s expenses.

Among the philanthropists who subsidized his expenses, according to district records, were entertainment executive Casey Wasserman and Eli Broad, both of whom support education causes through their foundations.

Eli Broad was there to rescue Deasy after he exited LAUSD; as this September 2016 EdSurge article notes, the Broad Center scooped up fallen Deasy as a Broad Center superintendent-in-residence. However, one would not know as much from reading the Broad Center’s August 01, 2018, profile on John Deasy. In fact, a reading of Deasy’s Broad Center bio offers no mention of anything but the marvels of John Deasy (no mention of any billion-dollar iPad fiasco or Deasy’s penchant for heading out of town when LAUSD business needed a superintendent’s presence)– just a seamless transition for Deasy, Wonder of LAUSD to Deasy, New Wonder of California’s Stockton Unified School District (SUSD).

That’s right: Deasy is again employed as a California superintendent. In May 2018, the SUSD board voted unanimously to confirm Deasy as its next superintendent and offer him a three-year contract, despite publicly voiced concerns about Deasy’s past, as the May 08, 2018, Record reports:

News reports from his tenure in both Maryland and Los Angeles have cast numerous clouds and concerns over [Deasy’s] selection [as SUSD superintendent], including whether or not Deasy legitimately received his doctorate from the University of Louisville in Kentucky to a failed technology program at LAUSD.

It took a seven-month investigation by the University of Louisville to determine the degree he received from the university was legitimate. Later, a bid to place iPads in the hands of every student, teacher and administration resulted in an FBI raid of LAUSD offices. No charges were filed.

“It does not take a rocket scientist to do a Google search,” Stagg High School teacher Rosslyn Halekakis said during public comments Tuesday night. “I did my own search and I find it hard to believe that any of you would vote in favor of this decision so quickly. God only knows what will be in store for our students and parents of Stockton Unified.”

Bobby Bivens, president of the Stockton branch of the NAACP, also spoke and said he plans to contact colleagues in Southern California and Maryland, and questioned Deasy’s business abilities.

“The fact that he bought $1.3 billion of Apple iPads without going through the due diligence … I’m surprised he’s even allowed to do business in California,” Bivens said.

Interestingly, I discovered Deasy’s SUSD hire while reading up on former Mew Mexico superintendent, Hanna Skandera.

It seems that as of June 2018, Skandera is the editor-in-chief of a publication, the Line, produced by the Frontline Research and Learning Institute. Skandera was hired to replace Deasy, who co-founded the Line in 2016 and served as its first editor-in-chief.

Like post-LAUSD-pre-SUSD Deasy, Skandera is also getting a “between jobs” boost from Uncle Eli; as of this writing, she is listed as one of Broad’s superintendents-in-residence. Apparently former Broadies remain on Broad’s superintendents-in-residence page until they become superintendents once again (some are retired and might remain as “mentors”); the current page includes the following ed reformers who are not currently superintending a district or state:

For now, Deasy is off of the list.

We’ll see how long it takes for him to return.


John Deasy


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

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  1. Nothing succeeds like failure in Reformy World.

  2. Eugene permalink

    John Deasy has been a resume-building, prevaricating weasel since before his time in Coventry, RI where he acted as a totalitarian exacting revenge on any who dared question him. I taught under his warped leadership. It was a disaster.

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