Austin Beutner, the outgoing leader of the Los Angeles Unified School District, took the stage of the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday to declare that the state of the city’s schools is excellent. But as he focused on accomplishments, others in the audience were pondering the work ahead.
The superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school system read out a lengthy list of achievements, headlined by successful food and economic relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also noted encouraging results from a new reading and math program for the early grades, expanded partnerships with the private sector and a decentralization plan that could culminate in the sale of district headquarters.
Beutner stood before school administrators, managers and staff from regional and central offices and made sure to thank them for their hard work, while also trying to define his legacy. He recently announced his decision to step down June 30 after completing his three-year contract.
“If you’ve been paying attention this morning, you’d recognize a pattern which has emerged over these past few years,” Beutner said. “Ideas that are born and bred in our schools — ideas that are born and bred in Los Angeles Unified — are becoming a model for the nation. And I rather like the sound of that. The future of our community, our state and our nation is in our public schools. And I’m pleased to say: The future looks very bright.”
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