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What Should Los Angeles Expect From A New Schools Superintendent?
Outlining the qualities that Austin Beutner’s successor will need to successfully lead the LAUSD in the COVID-19 recovery.
The next Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent will not have time for a honeymoon. The school board’s lack of transparency has resulted in an environment where the district’s policies are not trusted by the stakeholders. Austin Beutner’s replacement will, therefore, have to convince parents that it is safe for their children to return to school, assure them that children with special education needs are getting the services they need to reverse regression, and formulate a plan to collect millions of dollars owed to LAUSD students by delinquent charter schools.
While Beutner had no professional experience in the field of education, it is imperative that his successor have these skills as they lead the district out of difficult times. Their resume should include a record of successful leadership at the district level and experience in a public school classroom. This would allow a new leader to empathize with the problems faced by our teachers and help to avoid the animosity that was present for much of Beutner’s tenure.
The new superintendent must also have a thorough understanding of the needs of an urban school district. With 72.4 percent of its students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals, the LAUSD has responsibilities that reach far beyond the classroom. To improve educational outcomes, the district must be headed by someone committed to expanding health services, after-school activities, and parent supports.
Whoever replaces Beutner must also have the experience to understand the needs of the more than 80% of LAUSD students who are black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The push by richer, whiter parents to reopen school campuses before safety could be assured shows the pressure that the new superintendent must stand up to while protecting communities that have…