May 2, 2018Statement
Beutner is a billionaire investment banker, not a teacher
Above, UTLA Secretary Arlene Inouye (center) and UTLA/NEA Vice President Cecily Myart-Cruz (right center) along with community members, comment in the LAUSD Board meeting on May 1, over concerns with naming Austin Beutner as the next LAUSD superintendent.
This has been one of the shortest, least transparent, and least inclusive superintendent selection processes ever for a major urban district in the United States. It’s clear that LAUSD school board president Monica Garcia and vice president Nick Melvoin fast-tracked the process to have a superintendent in place before criminally indicted board member Ref Rodriguez’ trial.
As the union representing the 35,000 educators who work in our schools and offices every day, UTLA advocated for a leader with deep experience in education, knowledge of our neighborhoods, and a history of collaboration with communities and labor. Austin Beutner is a billionaire investment banker, not a teacher. He made his money at hedge-fund and private equity firms Blackstone and Evercore, consolidating businesses and laying off workers.
As publisher of the LA Times, Beutner brought in the Eli Broad and Frank Baxter foundations to fund much of the education reporting, a stunning conflict of interest – both foundations are major players in unregulated charter growth, privatization, and anti-union practices. Moreover, Beutner has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-union corporate charter operators that do not accept all students, and he sits on the board of a corporate charter that is in court for illegally firing a beloved teacher for her union activism.
Beutner worked for Antonio Villaraigosa and has strong family and business ties to Amway, the business that Betsy DeVos’ family started and that made them wealthy. He met with DeVos last year.
It is an insult to educators and to public education that Austin Beutner has been chosen superintendent through such a conflicted process. By locking out the people of Los Angeles, the school board majority has shown utter disdain for our communities and for the democratic decision-making process. As educators, we must continue our work with parents, youth, and communities to ensure that our students have the schools they deserve and that public education is protected. We re-double our commitment to our faculty meeting boycotts and the May 24 All In for Respect Rally at Grand Park.