(Update and correction: LA Times reporting Deasy said he may resign rather than will resign)
John Deasy, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District who has been at the center of a troubled $1 billion technology initiative, has told Board of Education members that he may soon resign, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The paper, which first reported that Deasy told some board members that he would resign in February, is now reporting that he said he may resign, just days before he is due for an annual performance review next week.
He could be considering a resignation, or he could be playing politics to get a better review. Deasy has abruptly resigned from a schools superintendency before; in 2008, he quit as chief of the Prince George’s County public school district after two years to accept a job as deputy director of the education division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Deasy took over the district in April 2011 and proceeded to push a series of controversial school reforms, including a new teacher assessment system that based part of a teacher’s evaluation on the standardized test scores of students and that met heavy resistance from teachers and their union.
He also drove the ambitious project to give an iPad to every child in the 650,000-student district and their teachers for home use. The iPad effort was immediately controversial; Deasy chose to fund it with school construction bonds, and it was discovered early on that nobody had allocated money to buy keyboards for the iPads, a mistake that will cost the district millions of dollars. Distribution of the iPads came to a halt shortly after it started when students hacked into the devices to to check Facebook and for other personal uses.
Deasy was allied with with former Mayor Antonio Villaraiogsa, who left office this year because of term limits, and recent board elections resulted in the defeat of two of his supporters. The Times said the new board had started to challenge Deasy’s reforms more than in the past.