John Deasy claims an authority in adjudicating “responsibility” that seems a little premature.

With what is itself “breathtaking” hubris, he fairly spits out to the LA School Report an avowal of sanctimonious incredulity that thousands of LAUSD teachers might threaten strike should their years of voluntary pay cuts and wage freezes not be reversed.

Says he:   “I would never even have a conversation about something as ludicrous as saying to the public that we might have a strike when we met people once”. Evidently the superintendent considers the negotiating-clock to be re-zeroed each year such that past history and betrayals have no standing.

Therefore it is hardly surprising that his own recent personal history of leveraging a threat to quit our district mired in the unmitigated fiscal and physical disrepair of his watch, into a multi-year employment contract replete with tidy salary increase of $30K – this little party trick was evidently fine because, perhaps, it never was a “conversation” with the public. Instead his own contract was carefully controlled and remanded for negotiation via inside baseball behind closed doors exclusively. All this remains just one of those “undiscussable” personnel matters.

So what does it mean anyway, to “behave responsibly”? That just means to behave in a way that the critic expects or considers desirable.

Irresponsible would be to operate under the chimeric authority of an academic degree dishonorably attained.

Irresponsible would be to persistently disregard his board’s resolution to implement its “Arts At The Core” mandate.

Irresponsible is to be in any way complicit or complacent in accepting LAUSD class sizes at upwards of 50 pupils per teacher, 2-4 times the rate of charter and private school counterparts.

Irresponsible is compelling a curriculum that ignores a vast population’s need and legitimate desire for vocational classes.

Irresponsible is accepting a school system where music and art is taught by itinerant teachers on a rotating schedule irregularly for part of a school year.

Irresponsible is refusing to provide arts budgetary information to your very own board of governors.

Irresponsible is squeezing funding to such an extent that even long-standing arts programs of superior quality fall prey to the relentless drive of test-mediated ELA and math curricula du jour.

Irresponsible is invoking civil rights as the justification for championing vanity tablet technology whose unconscionable price tag precludes schools from adequate operating funds.

Irresponsible is depriving schools of vital academic and health services by closing libraries, decimating the ranks of librarians and pitting them against their aides in a grotesque anti-union voodoo-sabotaging of “MarionTheLibrarian”, eliminating on-site nurses, counselors, and administrators.

Irresponsible is betraying the public’s trust in approving school infrastructure and repair bonds by raiding those funds for derivative purposes.

Irresponsible is to substitute vast swathes of instructional time with time spent in the classroom filling out worksheets aligned to some random test, taking that random test, waiting for others to take that random test or futzing around with untested philosophies tethered to that random test.

Irresponsible is to relegate our children and their teachers and support staff to decrepit facilities, the habitation of which is unpleasant and pedagogically self-defeating, and the maintenance of which – if accomplished at all — is extravagantly expensive.

Irresponsible is to champion the de facto segregating of our children by encouraging charter school proliferation and the financial and enrollment district school hemorrhaging that follows the influx of these schools.

I’m not really sure what utility is to be derived from the extreme irony of very publicly charging a brand new union leadership with impatience in such a palpably insensitive and impatient manner. Given that there are pending legal negotiations to be conducted, with the burden of their failure falling disproportionately upon children, this sort of intemperate challenge would seem in itself to be paradigmatically irresponsible.

How does this pot get off calling the kettle so black?

It is nothing short of absurd to finger teachers as parlaying an irresponsible negotiating tactic when the preponderance of the group’s individuals continue to exhibit the very model of responsibility, teaching our children day in and day out on just a fraction of the salary commensurate with comparable professionals’. As actual on-the-ground troops actually dealing with difficult day-to-day logistics, these are the people who subsume responsibility, not don it in name only.

Great leaders are every bit as heroic as they are essential, but leading with a hollow core amounts to no leadership at all. This is irresponsible.