UTLA President Fletcher Doubles Down: Deasy Not a ‘Savior’*
Vanessa Romo | October 30, 2013
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Despite all the sky-is-falling-rhetoric over the past week, things at LA Unified are much as they were: John Deasy is still the man in charge as superintendent, and teachers union president Warren Fletcher continues as his chief adversary.
While Deasy was keeping out of the spotlight today — he was attending an event in Albuquerque — UTLA’s Fletcher was doubling down on his contention that Deasy is leading the district off a cliff.
On KABC’s “McIntyre in the Morning” radio program, Fletcher accused Deasy of failing to meet multiple performance goals. “Unfortunately, it appears that in L.A., everyone is accountable except the boss,” he said.
“This entire week’s adventure has been an exercise in hype,” he went on. “It’s been an exercise in framing Dr. Deasy, somehow, as the savior of our schools when, in fact, the schools of L.A. survived five years of recession because teachers in every classroom [made] sacrifices. We took pay cuts to keep the district on it’s feet.”
“Dr. Deasy has been very good at demonizing the people who serve children.”
In a follow-up interview with LA School Report, Fletcher reiterated his disdain for Deasy as superintendent, but said, “We’ve gotten a lot done in these last couple of years and we will continue to get a lot done. That’s not going to stop.”
Fletcher was one of the first to applaud reports that Deasy might resign as they emerged last Thursday. The headline over the statement he issued then was, “It’s about time.”
The school board’s decision to extend Deasy’s contract into 2016 appeared as a huge blow for the union and for Fletcher, in particular, as the union’s election season gets underway next month. Fletcher is running for another term against two challengers.
One of them, Alex Caputo-Pearl, who has received national attention for social-justice programs at Crenshaw High School, said, “Over the past few days, there was an opportunity to remove Superintendent Deasy. UTLA President Fletcher’s attempts to help move this along were a failure.”
“Fletcher operated in a top-down way that didn’t involve school site educators,” Caputo-Pearl said. “He didn’t build coalitions with parents, community, and labor; he over-relied on behind-closed-door discussions with school board members; and, he didn’t facilitate the union to promote a pro-active vision for quality education that countered Deasy’s ‘run schools like a business’ vision in the public.”
Fletcher dismissed any thought that Deasy’s contract extension would impact the union election. Teachers, he said, are united behind the challenge of providing children a quality education. “Under Dr. Deasy’s leadership, kids’ education us less-rounded, and a vast majority of educators stand together on that.”
The other candidate challenging Fletcher, David Garcia, said in an email, “I am disappointed in the decision to renew John Deasy’s contract, but I am more upset with Warren Fletcher’s stagnant advocacy for teachers, students and their families.”
*Adds comment from David Garcia.