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Internecine Dramas at LAUSD: Which Comes First, Maturity or Accountability?

EDUCATION POLITICS - Some rather juvenile behavior is being bandied about over at Beaudry.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising but the level of sophistication really leaves Parents feeling as if mommy is fighting with daddy. And while it is not clear who is mommy and who is daddy, the fight is plain enough. It should be remembered by one and all that fighting is not good for children. 

Earlier this month the LAUSD board engaged in a complicated and abstruse argument about how Proposition 30 monies from the state should be distributed. While it seems as if there ought to be a huge windfall from its passage and a lot of claims were made at the time that the educational world would grind to a halt failing passage, still it seems now as if there will be nowhere near enough money just to hold things status quo, never mind return spending to the pre-hemorrhage but hurting-all-the-same “halcyon” (-not) days of the late naughts. 

In short hand the discussion was framed as to whether money would “follow the child” or the school. Proposals regarding the ‘Local Control Funding Formula’ (LCFF) clearly unfolded along an axis defined by the Bennett-Vladovic-Zimmer triumvirate on one side arrayed against Ms. Galatzan on the other. 

Ms. Galatzan proposed disbursing anticipated proposition 30 funds similarly to the way title I funds are distributed currently, with one wrinkle. Instead of funding only title I-eligible (“poor”) children according to a “proportion-test” of the school they attend, eligible students would be funded on a per capita basis “continuously”, independent of the concentration of poor students within a given school: funding would be “child-wise” and not “school-wise”. 

Perhaps fearing the political fallout of this scheme because it could result in relatively wealthier schools (i.e., those with a lower proportion of poor pupils) just not receiving sufficient funds to operate at all, even on a bare-bones basis, the triumvirate suggested setting aside the sticky question of the formula altogether and focusing instead on the circumstances of each class room directly. Thus they proposed to disburse funds “school-wise” by returning staffing to levels comparable to that prior to the funding crisis. This suggestion would have the effect of reducing class room size across the district in all schools. 

Ms Galatzan’s alternative potentially fortifies an economic crisis that essentially forces certain schools to “go charter” for fiscal reasons: they would not receive sufficient money to operate their school, particularly after factoring in LAUSD overhead. 

Her proposal, for money to “follow the child” was voted down. However it transpires that Dr. Deasy has chosen to pursue Ms. Galatzan’s suggestions anyway, because while the proposal was not passed, neither was he explicitly prohibited from following its directive (parents might recognize this parallel ploy: “I know you just said I should go to bed but you didn’t say I couldn’t read in bed”). 

Strenuously objecting to such insubordination, UTLA and AALA, the teachers’ and administrator’s unions respectively, have written a joint letter of complaint to the school board. Nowhere in the letter is the superintendent referred to by his honorific “Dr. Deasy”. Instead he is pointedly referred to as “Mr. Deasy”, presumably signaling some consensus in agreement with suspicion that his credentials are fraudulent

John Deasy finds himself in a very problematic corner politically, and this is manifesting itself in a lot of puerile behavior. He has publicly defied the spirit of his employers, the LAUSD school board, and he has lost so much credibility among even his own employees that they have deemed his honorific invalid. Parents are left wondering why an employee so discredited and quarrelsome in so many ways, has not yet been held “accountable” by his employer, our elected school board.

 

(Sara Roos is a politically active resident of Mar Vista, a biostatistician, the parent of two teenaged LAUSD students and a CityWatch contributor, who blogs at redqueeninla.wordpress.com

-cw

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 11 Issue 57

Pub: July 16, 2013