How new superintendent Austin Beutner plans to help LAUSD’s struggling schools

Austin Beutner, who starts work Tuesday as the chief executive of the Los Angeles Unified School District, faces several daunting challenges in his new job: falling enrollment, tightening budgets, labor difficulties.

But the most intractable challenge L.A. Unified faces are not financial; at their heart, they’re academic.

The scores on last year’s math tests vividly illustrate the difficulties: at 341 LAUSD schools, fewer than a quarter of students met state standards in math. At another 124 schools, fewer than 10 percent of students cleared that bar. (Statewide, 37.6 percent of students met standards in math)

Break down the district’s test scores by race and you’ll find the same intractable gaps. Most white and Asian students in L.A. Unified met or exceeded standards on their reading and math tests. But passing rates for black and Latino students, respectively, lag 30 or 40 percentage points behind. Click here to read more: