A recent Brookings Institution study found that superintendents on average account for just “0.3 percent of differences in student achievement.
Deasy undercut his successes with expensive, unforced errors. A wildly ambitious, $1.3 billion plan to put Apple iPads into the hands of every district student was a debacle. Last year’s rollout began amid confusion. Would the students be allowed to take the devices home? Who would be responsible for tablets that were lost or stolen? Many students breached their iPads’ security locks and used the devices for non-academic purposes. Deasy halted the program in August after e-mails revealed he had discussed a possible contract with Apple before the official bidding process began. The “MiSiS crisis” followed on the heels of the iPad scandal. The district launched an online school-information system that was nowhere near ready, resulting in thousands of students starting the school year without class schedules. The new system also couldn’t generate transcripts that seniors needed for college applications.