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Essential Education: The LAUSD superintendent search, behind closed doors

Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:

  • LAUSD
  • school safety
(Los Angeles Times)

Students are taking to the streets again Friday to protest gun violence on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

Starting at 10 a.m., students at many schools will spend 13 seconds honoring the 13 people — 12 teachers and one student — killed on that day in Littleton, Colo. After that, they’ll participate in a host of different activities.

Within L.A. Unified, one school is having an open-mic event for students to talk about school violence, and lawmakers are visiting campuses to hear students thoughts.

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When administrators at South El Monte High School called Jeremy Sanchez's parents to say he never showed up for class Wednesday, his father began to worry.

It was unusual for the 17-year-old junior to miss school, so his father filed a missing person's report and assembled two people, Jeremy's close friend and another teen with whom he was romantically involved, to look for the popular student-athlete.

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings last week donated $7 million to bolster Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign.
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings last week donated $7 million to bolster Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

In and around Los Angeles:

Answers to questions about the search for a new L.A. schools superintendent — including how power brokers might be influencing the debate.

Indianapolis schools Supt. Lewis Ferebee took himself out of the running for the job.

Soon after Neal MacDougall arrived on the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus Tuesday, the professor noticed university police standing outside a restroom near his office. A racial slur against African Americans had been scrawled in red marker on a stall wall.

Later, he discovered a series of racist fliers pinned up next to his door. Someone had also slashed posters he'd hung outside his office supporting students in the country illegally.

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When El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido was secretly recorded telling his students that members of the military were "dumb" and the "lowest of the low," the public outcry was swift and withering.

Angry community members called for Salcido's firing, while White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — a retired Marine general — said the teacher "ought to go to hell."

Lewis Ferebee, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools.
Lewis Ferebee, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools. (Danese Kenon / IndyStar)

Lewis Ferebee, the superintendent of Indianapolis public schools, has taken himself out of the running for the job of L.A. schools superintendent.

“After further discussing this endeavor with my family, the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners, and those handling the search process, I have withdrawn my name from consideration,” Ferebee confirmed in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “It was an honor to have been considered for an opportunity of this magnitude.”

Reached by phone, Indianapolis school board president Michael O’Connor said Ferebee told him he was attracted by the opportunity of leading the nation’s second-largest school district, but hadn’t fully discussed the implications of such a move with his wife. 

  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • LAUSD
  • Community Colleges
Acting LAUSD superintendent Vivian Ekchian is a finalist for the permanent job.
Acting LAUSD superintendent Vivian Ekchian is a finalist for the permanent job. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

The L.A. Unified school board spent 10 hours interviewing and discussing candidates for superintendent. When they adjourned after 10 p.m., they said they would reconvene on Friday.

Who is paying for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s much-touted College Promise, a program that promises two years of community college for LAUSD grads?

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Families of two children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School have filed lawsuits in Texas against controversial radio host Alex Jones for continually claiming the massacre never happened.

Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah Pozner died in the massacre, filed separate lawsuits late Monday in Travis County, Texas.

The Los Angeles Board of Education adjourned late Tuesday after spending more than 10 hours interviewing candidates and trying to reach a decision on who would be the next leader of the nation's second-largest school system.

When the meeting finally recessed at 10:11 p.m., a spokesman announced only that the school board would reconvene Friday at noon.

Former investment banker and L.A. Times publisher Austin Beutner is a leading candidate to be superintendent of Los Angeles schools.
Former investment banker and L.A. Times publisher Austin Beutner is a leading candidate to be superintendent of Los Angeles schools. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

Former investment banker and L.A. Times publisher Austin Beutner has emerged as a finalist for L.A. Unified superintendent, but his education-focused nonprofit is under scrutiny.

Some LAUSD students wrote the school board an open letter describing what they want in a superintendent.

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