LAUSD 2040 and the search for our next superintendent

Dear Board Members García, Gonez, McKenna, Melvoin, Rodriguez, Schmerelson, and Vladovic:

Your choice for LAUSD’s next superintendent will be one of the most important decisions in the history of the district. No one envies the complex choices and tradeoffs you face in the years ahead as you navigate monumental decisions related to fiscal stability and student outcomes. Dwarfing all these issues, however, is the catastrophic risk of leaving so many young Angelenos vulnerable to the tidal wave of change from exponentially advancing digital technologies like artificial intelligence (A.I.), automation, and robotics. The storm is coming, and it will not discriminate.

LAUSD needs to act now to strengthen the connection between school and work so that our students are better prepared for a world defined by a labor force in flux.

A Brave New World

47 percent of current U.S. middle-class jobs are at risk due to automation over the next 20 years, according to an Oxford report. There is no dispute that the world is headed for a massive economic disruption in which whole categories of jobs will be wiped out. The only debate is to what degree.

Consider this list of the Top 20 jobs in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Ana. (See chart below.) How many of these jobs are immune to advances in A.I. and robotics? How many parents are working in these jobs today? How many LAUSD graduates currently place into these jobs? As jobs — which provide personal fulfillment, economic stability, and often a pathway for upward social mobility — go away, the risk of increased income inequality and mass poverty is downright scary. Click here to read more: