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Australian Prime Minister Likes LBUSD

Australia’s newly selected prime minister likes the Long Beach Unified School District.

Before becoming the first female prime minister in Australia’s history yesterday, Julia Gillard last October asked the Long Beach Unified School District to participate in a roundtable discussion on education reform at Rand Corporation’s Santa Monica offices.  At the time, Gillard was deputy prime minister and the country’s second-most senior officer.

LBUSD Superintendent of Schools Christopher J. Steinhauser joined Gillard and a select group of education experts from Southern California at the October meeting to discuss issues of transparency and accountability in K-12 education.  Steinhauser provided information on LBUSD’s use of student achievement data, its parental and community involvement, and Long Beach’s nationally recognized Seamless Education partnerships with higher education, among other topics.

“She was the highest ranking public official I’ve ever met,” Steinhauser said at the time, “but she was very down-to-earth, very friendly.”

As deputy prime minister, Gillard assumed control of the education, employment and workplace relations ministries, earning her the nickname “Minister for Everything.” She was instrumental in leading the government’s “Education Revolution” — a program that included giving a laptop to every high school student in Australia.

Gillard assumed the prime minister position this week after standing unopposed at a vote of her party’s 112 lawmakers, according to news reports.