An Op Ed Piece-John Deasy and the presumption of guilt before innocence

I am really angry today.

Education in this country is a disaster. Test scores will never tell the whole story. The unbelievable cost of college which ruins opportunities for middle class children.  The creation of for-profit schools that rob the poor, desperate to give their children a college education, but without the background themselves to assess schools.  The unjustifiable worship of technology over the development of critical thinking.  Allowing for profit companies into public schools to “donate” their products and create consumers for the very products they donate.

College and graduate school has become a venue for the purchase of grades..and why not? The exorbitant price tag suggests that you should emerge with a fine product for your money.

And everyone seems just FINE with all this.  After all, this is America, right? Land of the free to spend and the home of the wealthy. Unless you aren’t in the one percent.

Here’s a charming example of how we are leading our schools now.

John Deasy is the head of LA Unified School District, one of the largest districts in the country.  He proudly espouses being “tough” on teachers, so that even the slightest thread of doubt about a teacher’s conduct results in their placement in “teacher jail”,  where teachers and other school officials can be placed on full salary, paid to sit in purgatory until LAUSD gets around to assessing their suitability to be in the classroom.

What an excellent use of tax payer money.

Deasy consistently lies about the amount of people in teacher jail and how long it takes for their hearings.  He talks about cases being settled in months, yet I know that it sometimes takes well over a year. Frightened cafeteria lunch ladies and career teachers, presumably at the top of their salary range, are accused and removed. Some are fired.   Others, with more resources, obtain settlements with the district.  They have gag orders attached, so teachers or other school workers can back out quietly and never criticize the administration.

How do I know this? I know someone who was imprisoned in teacher jail and then fired. Without due process or even cause.

I can’t write much about it, because the case is in process and I hope my friend gets their day in court. 

Is it unclear to American citizens…when a man actually is on television and says “If there’s any doubt, we remove them!”, he is talking about guilt before innocence. He is raising the spectre of “harm to children” to frighten parents into supporting these “safety measures”.

Watch this video:

Now let’s read this a different way.  What if Deasy had said..

“You know, blacks are scary. Many black men are in prison. We just can’t take any chances when it comes to our children.”

“You know, most rapes are committed by men.  We just can’t take any chances with our children.  No more men in classrooms.”

“You know, most Jews don’t believe in Jesus.  We want our children to believe in the right values.  We just can’t have Jews in the classroom, we just can’t take a chance.”

It’s not a big step from what he saying now, right out in public. “We just can’t take any chances when it comes to our children” is an attractive statement, and if you are a sheep, then you will agree.

Think about it again.  “We just can’t take any chances” is a step away from freedom.  A step away from education.  A step towards the Nazi party, towards oppression.

That’s quite an education for our children, isn’t it?


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