LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy Speaks About Vergara v. California and Students’ Rights

On Monday at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy delivered an eloquent speech about the long road leading up to the Vergara v. California trial and shared his thoughts about the rights of the youth in our nation.

Dr. Deasy acknowledged that there is power in the small act of dissent, such as a black man demanding demanding a cup of coffee at a whites-only counter in the South in the 1950s. Dr. Deasy drew strong parallels between the history of the civil rights movement and the current struggle to protect the educational rights of students, particularly students of color. Dr. Deasy asserted that students’ right to equal educational opportunity—both in terms of adequate resources and of quality instruction—must be vigorously and proactively defended through many avenues: the Constitution, the legislature, local policymaking, and the courts. According to Deasy, “we are still struggling some 60 years post-decision to enact the promise of Brown [v. Board of Education].” Dr. Deasy said that when it comes to education, “equal treatment of youth in unequal circumstances is not justice.”

Following his speech, Dr. Deasy participated in an engaging panel discussion with Susan Estrich, Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Gould School of Law, and Julie Marsh, Associate Professor of Education Policy at the USC Rossier School of Education. The panel was moderated by Katharine O. Strunk, Associate Professor of Education and Policy at the USC Rossier School of Education and USC Price School of Public Policy. During the panel discussion, Ms. Estrich poignantly observed that no matter the outcome of the Vergara case, it will set the stage for leaders at all levels to step up and make change.

Watch a video of the entire event below, courtesy of the USC Rossier School of Education.