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For years, the possibility of organizing the employees of the largest charter school group in Los Angeles was an elusive goal for the teachers union. Efforts launched in 2015 sputtered out during an extended and expensive legal back-and-forth.

But on Wednesday, the movement appeared to get its momentum back.

Teachers at three charter schools operated by the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools network submitted paperwork to form a union and begin bargaining collectively. Though they make up a fraction of Alliance’s total employees — the network runs 25 schools across L.A. — their actions represented a partial victory in the union’s campaign to organize charter schools.

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New Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner proved Wednesday that he’s a quick learner even without an education background. Like countless public officials before him, he appeared at an important event — his first speech and news conference — with a photogenic background of students.

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(Phalaen Chang)

At the beginning of lunch one day late last month, Duarte High School, Northview Middle School, and California School of the Arts-San Gabriel Valley were advised by the Los Angeles’ Sheriff’s Department to go into lockdown mode due to police activity in the immediate area. 

Phalaen Chang, a junior at the California School of the Arts, wrote a series of notes on her iPhone while she sat in a room with her classmates.   

By the time the lockdown ended an hour later, she wrote, she knew which of her friends would “hold open the door for others,” “be the ones calming others down,” “be the ones barricading the doors.” She knew “that all of them have the potential to be such strong people.”

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

L.A. Unified named its new superintendent Tuesday: Austin Beutner, 58, a philanthropist and former investment banker who has no experience running a school or district. Two board members voted no.

The Beutner announcement is controversial but follows a long history of the district deciding between leaders who come from inside and outside LAUSD leadership.

Navy Vice Adm. David L. Brewer III, superintendent from 2006-2008.
Navy Vice Adm. David L. Brewer III, superintendent from 2006-2008. (L.A. Times file photo)

L.A. Unified has long gone back and forth between picking insiders and outsiders to run the nation’s second largest school district. 

The choice of Austin Beutner, announced Tuesday, places the district squarely back in the outsider camp — months after a consummate insider, Supt. Michelle King, announced that she had cancer and would not return to the job.

Check out this timeline of former L.A. superintendents to see how the school board members have changed their minds, sometimes favoring leaders who come from the world of education and sometimes executives from elsewhere, recruited to shock the system into change.

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Austin Beutner, a philanthropist and former investment banker, on Tuesday was named superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school system.

Ref Rodriguez and his attorneys will have more time to prepare their defense against charges of political money laundering, a judge ruled Monday.

The Los Angeles Board of Education went behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon to select the next superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school system. Although the deliberation is behind closed doors, all signs pointed to the choice of philanthropist and former investment banker Austin Beutner.

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Austin Beutner
Austin Beutner (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

In and around Los Angeles:

L.A. Unified is poised to name Austin Beutner as its new schools chief.

Nearly 30,000 L.A. preschoolers are getting specific training and teachings on empathy.

The Los Angeles Board of Education is poised to select philanthropist and former investment banker Austin Beutner to be the next superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school system.