John Deasy, formerly of the Gates Foundation, took command yesterday as Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The LA Daily News reports on today's front page:
Speeding from one campus to another on Friday, Deasy peppered teachers and principals with questions about their strategies to improve academic programs, taking breaks between classroom stops to check his iPhone - admittedly his one addiction.
At Castelar Elementary in Chinatown, Deasy congratulated administrators on their high state test scores and their clean campus. Then he questioned staff on how they were addressing the achievement of Latino students on campus, who are underperforming compared to their Asian peers. "I read the data before coming ... tell me what you're doing about it," he asked.
Castelar's school coordinator, Sal Sandoval, said he appreciated the tough questions. "Of course it's a little intimidating, I mean he is our boss, but it's great to see how much he knows about our school," Sandoval said.
I'm as stumped as John Deasy is. Whoever heard of a school where Asians outscore Latinos on average? Clearly, it can't have anything to do with, say, the Latino students' parents. As we read in that new bestseller, Battle Hymn of the Jaguar Mother by Harvard Law professor Amy Chavez, Latino parents are notorious for relentlessly pushing their children to study.
At first, I was going to recommend that Superintendent Deasy drop everything else to investigate the Castelar Conundrum. But, on second thought, perhaps some mysteries are not meant for human minds to unravel. This school's unique results could even be the result of a sinister conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, a plot far too deep and dangerous for John Deasy to probe.
Forget it, Jack. It's Chinatown.