LOS ANGELES (Sept. 13, 2018) – Today, Superintendent Austin Beutner shared his policy priorities for the Los Angeles Unified School District, including providing a great education for all students, particularly those most in need, supporting quality teachers in every classroom, inserting transparency into all that L.A. Unified does, and securing adequate resources for every school.
“This needs to be about making sure every student gets a great education, not arguing while students and families bear the brunt of the consequences,” said Beutner. “We need to be supporting the work of great teachers. We need to be transparent, not bargaining in secret. This is what a true progressive vision of public education looks like, not just for Los Angeles, not just for California, but for the entire country.”
While in the midst of negotiations with labor partners, the Superintendent spoke in front of teachers, principals, students and community members, and shared his approach to working together to get all of our students on a path to college or a 21st century career.
- Students most in need deserve great teachers and great schools. Low-income students, students of color, English Learners, LGBTQ youth, children who lack healthcare, students exposed to violence in their neighborhoods or homes, and students with special needs are being left behind at an alarming rate. We are not doing enough to provide these students with a great education.
- The teacher quality every single student deserves. We need to make sure our teachers feel appreciated, are rewarded and, hopefully, are committed to a long career at Los Angeles Unified. Let’s develop and support good teachers.
- Transparency in all that we do. We need to be transparent with our students, families, and community about how their school is doing. We need to better track how resources are spent at individual schools, and at the district level. And our commitment to transparency must include contracts with our labor partners - we need less negotiations in secret and more conversations in public.
- We need adequate resources for every school. Success means having the resources we need to fully fund our schools and improve student achievement. We want smaller class sizes, better pay for teachers, and additional counselors, librarians and support staff in every school – but we will need more money to pay for it. We can only spend what we have.
Throughout the speech, the Superintendent called for action and partnership. “When it comes to helping students most in need, we should be working together, not fighting against each other,” said Beutner. “We need to go to Sacramento and demand that we receive adequate resources to educate children with higher needs.”
The Superintendent also explained that the teacher strikes across the country in the last year have been statewide, not local, and that’s because state legislatures control education funding. Ninety percent of the money that funds our schools comes from Sacramento. A strike against L.A. Unified does nothing to change funding for public education.
L.A. Unified has reached agreements with several labor partners, representing more than 60 percent of employees. Labor’s current demands would bankrupt the district. Budgets will be slashed, class sizes will rise, and decisions won’t be made in the best interest of our students and families. The Superintendent warned of the consequences.
“Los Angeles Unified is not too big to fail, and no one is coming to save us if we do,” said Beutner. “The impact will be profound and the people who will feel it the most will be the students who are depending on us to get this right.”
“All of this is going to take collaboration, a lot of hard work, and a great measure of courage,” said Beutner. “We need to summon the same courage and resilience that our students do every day.”
The full text of Superintendent Beutner's speech can be read here.