LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Southland civil rights leaders were expected to urge Los Angeles school board officials to appoint a new superintendent that will be “sensitive” to the needs of African-American students.

Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson was scheduled to host a roundtable discussion about what he described as “chronic low test scores and drop-out rates” for black LAUSD students at “crisis levels.”

The calls comes on the heels of the resignation of LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, who stepped down Thursday after his administration was mired in controversy over the Miramonte Elementary abuse scandal, the district’s $1 billion iPad program, and most recently, the launch of the MiSiS scheduler.

The Board of Education has appointed former Superintendent Ramon Cortines, 82, to serve as an interim superintendent while the LAUSD searches for a successor to Deasy. Cortines will begin his post on Monday.

Hutchinson said the Board of Education must make the needs of African-American students “a priority issue in their appointment of a permanent superintendent.”

“Black students in L.A. schools have consistently had the lowest test scores and highest drop out rates,” said Hutchinson. “This is a crisis that has had terrible repercussions within the African-American community in L.A.”

A 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Education found achievement gaps among various ethnic groups across school districts statewide, with Asian or Pacific Islander students holding the highest graduation rate at 89 percent, contrasted with 63 percent for black students.

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