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Austin Beutner: A renewed emphasis on education at The Times

Dear Reader,

Today is the first day of school for hundreds of thousands of children throughout Los Angeles, and for students, teachers and parents, the occasion is cause for both excitement and trepidation.

Education, it has been said, is the soul of society, and few institutions embody our hopes and dreams as much as our public schools. They are the cornerstones of our communities and the foundation for our future, where children from all backgrounds are given the tools to shape their lives and their world.

With the start of a new school year, the Los Angeles Times is rededicating itself to coverage of teaching and learning. Our goal is to provide an ongoing, wide-ranging report card on K-12 education in Los Angeles, California and the nation.

We are calling our initiative Education Matters, and I encourage you to join us as we explore the issues that matter most to you and your child. If you want to understand the latest debate on curriculum or testing, find out about the role of student health in learning, study how charter schools are changing public education or experience a classroom from the perspective of a teacher, then Education Matters will be an essential destination.

With an expanded team of reporters, we will take a fresh approach to our news and analysis starting with today’s stories about the unique challenges facing LAUSD and the last year-round school in Los Angeles. Our editorial pages feature a guest column by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the need for more investment in math and science education. You will find our reports at latimes.com/schools in English and Spanish.

In the coming months, we will convene public forums to address topics such as educational education policy, saving for college and talking to your child’s teacher. We intend these conversations to be both thoughtful and practical.

The Times continues to draw more high school students to journalism with HS Insider, available at highschool.latimes.com. And as the school year begins, more college students will receive free access to The Times through our College Connection program, which brings them news and information relevant to their studies and their communities.

A child’s success in the classroom depends on the participation and support of everyone in the community, a view shared by the California Endowment, the Wasserman Foundation and the Baxter Family Foundation, which are providing funds to support Education Matters. The California Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles have also supported this effort with grants from the Broad Foundation. These institutions, like The Times, are dedicated to independent journalism that engages and informs its readers.

Your first assignment is to become involved. Read and share our stories. Attend a discussion in your neighborhood. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, “Education Matters.” Follow us on Twitter at @LATEducation.

As we launch Education Matters, I look forward to hearing from you. Please let me know how we’re doing and how we can best serve your needs.

Austin Beutner,
Publisher and CEO, Los Angeles Times

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