New LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner Pledges to Improve Academic Performance

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In his first news conference since being named to the post, new Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner on Wednesday acknowledged his lack of experience in education, but pledged to push cooperatively but unflinchingly to improve the district's academic performance and stabilize its finances.

Beutner, a former investment banker who made a fortune on Wall Street, offered no specifics on how he would deal with the district's gravest academic and fiscal challenges or its stalled negotiations with the teachers union.

Union representatives on Wednesday came out battling, saying his selection was a sign that L.A. Unified's leadership is steering the nation's second-largest school system in the wrong direction.

The Board of Education selected Beutner by a 5-2 vote on Tuesday, passing over interim Supt. Vivian Ekchian, who has spent her career in the L.A. Unified School District, rising from teacher to senior management.

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