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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Los Angeles Unified School District

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April 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Blunt L.A. educator cheered by charter-school fans

In this town, we claim to admire restraint, politesse and, above all, consensus-building. But the thunderous reception greeting John Deasy on Monday suggests that we actually crave a bit of blunt talk.

John Deasy (AP photo)

John Deasy (AP photo)

Deasy, the controversial and unapologetic superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was in Seattle speaking at a fundraiser for Stand for Children, a pro-charter school organization with whom he has ties. Afterward, he stopped by The Seattle Times for a less formal chat, in which he was forthright about his belief in both the importance of good teachers and the need to loosen regulations that hinder districts in firing bad ones.

This battle is at the crux of Vergara v. California, a lawsuit in which nine Los Angeles students allege they received an illegally lousy education because it was too hard for L.A. to get rid of lackluster educators. Deasy (pronounced like daisy) was a star witness for the students’ side, and spoke about the years of paperwork necessary to remove poor performers.

The case is now in a judge’s hands, and it could have significant implications for any state in which the right to a quality education is constitutionally protected. Like, for instance, Washington.

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