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Reform-Minded Teachers No Match for Deasy Referendum

Hillel Aron | April 23, 2013

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Part of UTLA’s “whoopsee Deasy” campaign, published online in the weeks leading up to the referendum

If UTLA’s referendum on John Deasy meant little to the Superintendent himself, and wasn’t persuasive to UTLA-endorsed mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, it was, perhaps, a sign of just how little clout teacher groups like Teach Plus, Educators 4 Excellence and Teachers for a New Unionism have exhibited thus far within the union.

Those groups, which represent teachers amenable to school reform efforts like merit-based pay and evaluations based partly on test scores, pointed to general frustration with LAUSD and UTLA’s social media campaign against Deasy in the week leading up to the vote.

Lisa Alva Wood, a teacher at Roosevelt High School and a member of Teachers for a New Unionism, was among the 9 percent of teachers who voted in favor of Superintendent Deasy.

“I don’t always agree with his methods but I admire his goals,” said Wood.

She said her colleagues’ feelings on Deasy were really more about their frustrations with the district over all.

“We’re under so much pressure in the classroom, because our resources have been taken away from us little by little,” she said. “There’s so many things coming onto the teacher and we’re not getting any say in the matter. People are stressed out and tired.”

Ama Nyamekye, Executive Director of Educators for Excellence, agreed.

“It’s an extremely difficult time — weathering write-offs and budget cuts,” she said.

But John Lee, Executive Director of Teach Plus Los Angeles, called the referendum meaningless, saying that UTLA’s “whoopsie Deasy” social media campaign lampooning the Superintendent rendered the vote nothing more than a push poll.

“If they really wanted an honest poll, they wouldn’t have done that,” said Lee, who said he talked to teachers who didn’t participate in the poll for that very reason, calling it “a waste of time.”

Lee added: “There are a number of teachers out there who want to have a more productive approach.”

Previous posts: Garcetti Praises Partnership School, Differs with UTLA PollTeachers Vote Against Deasy, For More TeachersCommentary: “A More Transparent Union”Teachers Vote on Deasy Tomorrow, TooCommentary: “Backwards Mindset” in Union Initiative

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