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Letters to the Editor: Austin Beutner’s LAUSD leadership amid crisis is winning over skeptical teachers

LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner gives a tour of a food distribution location at John Liechty Middle School in downtown Los Angeles on March 17.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Sandy Banks quotes Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Austin Beutner as asking, “Are you a Hatfield or a McCoy?” as a way to describe factionalism in the district.

I have been teaching at John Marshall High School for the last 25 years. If you asked me in early March what Beutner and I had in common on education, I would have said, “I am a Hatfield, and he is a McCoy.”

For six days in January 2019, I stood in the rain and chanted for his downfall. I have publicly decried his leadership. I have knocked on doors in my neighborhood to make sure that the Board of Education had more Hatfields and fewer McCoys.

But since district campuses closed on March 13, I have found myself supporting Beutner’s leadership. The food banks, the focus on PBS’ educational programming, the effort to connect our neediest students to the internet, and his collaboration with the teachers union have made clear to me that Beutner and I do have quite a bit in common.

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We both want L.A’s children to return to their education as soon it is safely possible, and with a connection to their schools and teachers that stands the test of this pandemic.

Michael Finn, Los Angeles

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To the editor: L.A. Unified has announced that no students will receive any grades of F on their spring report cards.

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When I was a kid, teachers could issue a grade of “incomplete” (I got one once and had to do some makeup work). Couldn’t we do something like that for students affected by school closures?

Teachers could issue an “incomplete” grade, provide a mechanism to complete the lessons and then issue a final grade.

David Olsen, San Diego


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