Being a parent means witnessing a lot of prima donnish, irascible and irrational behavior.  So by virtue of my alter-profession as “Mom”, I do claim a certain degree of familiarity with self-serving temper tantrums:  I know ‘em when I see ‘em.  Our superintendent of schools, the man engaged by the seven members of our elected school board to be accountable for “process” in the second-largest school district nationwide, pitched a doozy last week.

Enacting his latest in a long string of periodic hissy fits, this time through a set of whispering surrogates, our city’s Top Educator let it be known that the latest round of criticism rolling his way would never be tolerated:  you can’t fire me because I would quit first.

And like water on mushroom spores, up popped a full field of fully fledged furious “Civic Groups”.  These are hardly non-partisan associations of “grass roots” citizens; most are already on record explicitly or implicitly as ‘Deasy-partisans’, and/or overt “Education Reform” propagandists.  Their well-organized ire surrounding this potential resignation represents little that was not obligingly predictable shy of prescience.

Meanwhile, truly ordinary, genuine participants and beneficiaries of the LAUSD itself, struggle to be heard, functionally incommunicado.  As I attend unrelated parent meetings whether of strangers or associates, I confess a degree of shock overhearing the intensity of excruciating anticipation:  Deasy is reviled.  The actual laity of parents, teachers and students transmit a degree of censure for Deasy that is diametrically opposed to that of the ideologues who champion his reign.

Apart from blind fealty, what is to celebrate?  The past months have witnessed a parade of LAUSD’s top brass, subordinate only to the superintendent, spend hour upon hour invoking the LAUSD equivalent of the “fifth”:  “Let me get back to you on that”.  The full array of ipad enablers is unable to honestly justify the rationale for spending $50M on hardware that is missing not only its software but key hardware components to boot, is absent any volume discount, is untested and avowedly “non-durable” yet funded with monies designated for “durable” infrastructure, with the practical logistics of liability and utility completely un-worked-out.

If this incompetence is not worthy of “accountability”, then the meaning of “accountability” forced so painfully on our legions of fired teachers has surely metamorphosed beyond recognition.

Moreover, as wholly and sufficient as such ‘incompetence’ ought to be in justifying dismissal, ‘insubordination’ could be as well.  Following a board resolution passed in June, the directive to “hire more staff” was defied and its elected supporters mocked since “they can’t stop me from doing it [enacting a competing spending measure]; we’re doing it anyway. If they had voted to prevent me from doing it… well they didn’t think of that.”

Accountability and responsibility have long been commodities the superintendent has extracted from others but skirted in his own job evaluation.  The cry of “astroturf” groups aside, it seems possible the consequence of inadequate job performance and insubordination might at last be brought to bear.

Reneging on a threat to quit, yet again, is just the latest squirmish in a game of political maneuvering.  By flushing out the veiled threat of corporate interests, displeased, neatly diverted is the public’s outcry of outrage regarding highlighted performance failings and a culture of disrespect and insubordination.

We must not be distracted from the reality of experience.  With 91% of teachers voting “no confidence” in our superintendent, and widespread dismay among the rest of us, it is high time to invoke our reform-minded high expectations of high performance on the high road.