"Well, sue away!" — John Deasy. PhD [sic] in response to a local mother telling him that subverting democracy could lead to lawsuits.
On Tuesday May 10, 2011, a group of parents led by Echo Park Moms 4 Education protested in front of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) headquarters and tried to gain access to speaking numbers to address the board during public comment. The issue at hand? They wanted to keep their democratic rights to vote on which school plans communities want when presented so-called choices in the deceptively named Public School Choice resolution (PSC).
LAUSD officials told the parents demanding their democratic rights that the item wouldn't be voted on that day and recommended they go home. Deasy-Flores, Inc. waited till all the parents left, then discussed taking away their vote and silencing their voices for good with no public comment. Aside from being a major victory for lucrative corporate charters, it shows how much disdain John Deasy, PhD [sic] holds for the communities that pay his salary now that Eli Broad and Bill Gates aren't paying him directly any more. Word is that Deasy has rescheduled the Board of Trustees vote on the PSC Advisory Vote for their May 24, 2011 meeting. Deasy also plans on "fixing" the process so that only charter-voucher schools will apply by requiring that people belonging to working class organizations like United Teachers of Los Angeles waive nearly all their rights in order to apply to run a school.
Here's what one local educators said after watching the manipulations by the Superintendent and the Board that day:
John Deasy has made it perfectly clear that only he and the school board know what is right for the community.
Deasy's smug arrogance led him to actually mock one of the moms from our neighborhood. When she informed him that there might be lawsuits entailing from his actions, the Broad Residency graduate responded "Well, sue away!" That bodes for the type of "engagement" we can expect from Deasy and his right wing "parent and community liaison" Maria Casillas, whose entire career has been in service of the charter school sector. Casillas sits on charter boards like that of the well heeled Judy Burton's Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, as well as California Charter School Association proxy groups like Alliance for a Better Community.
Here is the article in which our community first learned that the board might have decided that voting for whether our tax dollars go to public schools or private corporations was first announced. LAUSD BOARD OF ED OK's PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM OVERHAUL. The good news is that the author was confused, and the vote was delayed on the basis that Deasy would somehow produce another way of gauging public sentiment. I've got a hint for Deasy, there's already such a mechanism — it's called voting!
Here's what I wrote in a recent essay on the privatizers calling for an end to the PSC Advisory Vote:
From the get go, the PSC process pits CMOs and charters with budgets bolstered by billionaires like Eli Broad, Bill Gates, The Walton fortune heirs, Reed Hastings, and more against underfunded public schools. It pits charters with professional marketing teams against overworked schoolteachers, scattered community members, and exasperated parents. It pits the corporate reform cheerleading media, happy to write pro-charter applicant team articles, against design teams with no access to publicity. The so-called Public School Choice resolution has never been about public schools, and now that the advisory vote is about to be ditched it should be clear to everyone that it's never been about "choice" either.
In a word, PSC is divisive, elitist, and antidemocratic. Its primary aim from the beginning was to provide the lucrative charter-vouchers school industry with market share growth beyond their wildest dreams at the expense of our communities and tax dollars. FIS are shameless right wingers that like their counterparts, The Heritage Foundation, The Heartland Institute, and the Cato Institute, advocate for wholesale dismantling of public education. There's no surprises there.
What's surprising and shameful is that both LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and a good portion of the LAUSD Board of Trustees promoted this report on LAUSD's website and are using the report to justify eliminating the one way communities could make their voices heard.
If you think the communities that house the schools, taxpayers that finance the schools, and parents that will send their children to the schools deserve a voice in a process that is already unfair and bent on privatizing the district, then contact Echo Park Moms 4 Education or contact me to join our struggle. Time is running out on democracy, and the corporate charters are salivating.