LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy announced his resignation Thursday, following criticism of his plan to put iPads in schools, and a class scheduling problem that placed kids in classrooms with no educational value. Ray Cortines, the district’s former superintendent will take the job on an interim basis.
In a statement, the school board thanked Deasy for his service. “In that period of time, academic achievement rose substantially despite severe economic hardships, and the students of the district have benefited greatly from Dr. Deasy’s guidance,” it said.
As head of the LAUSD, Deasy, 53, oversaw a continued rise in student performance during a period of financial cuts. But he could not overcome election day setbacks, poor relations with teachers and two back-to-back technology debacles.
Deasy will remain on “special assignment” with the district until the end of the year.
Updated Oct 17:
LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer told Press Play’s Madeleine Brand that it was an excruciating decision about the boars acceptance of Deasy’s resignation. “We’ve had a lot of very, very deep conversations about what it will take to build the type of collaboration we need to actually make change real in every school community.”
Deasy has come under fire for two major technological debacles, which Zimmer acknowledged, saying, “We have a critical digital divide in our community, we intended to try to eradicated that and it has not been successful, and that’s been painful.”
“I think he’s a polarizing figure for public education,” said Judith Perez, president of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, the union representing principals and their assistants. “The morale of our members has been the worst ever since his tenure,” she told Madeleine.
Warren Olney’s Which Way, LA? talked to LA Times’ columnist Steve Lopez about the resignation, who said Deasy wasn’t politically savvy, and lacked the ability to build coalitions. UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl said he was hopeful that Deasy’s departure means a different approach to turning things around.
“I don’t think anything’s going to be simple,” says Lopez. “I think this is one of the most complicated jobs in the entire country.”