Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

Many, many people live in Los Angeles. As of the latest census there were an estimated 9,948,081 people living there. Los Angeles covers a land area of 4,061 square miles, with 2,344 persons occupying each of those areas. It goes without saying that this is a lot of people! Several of these residents have children; 27.6% of these residents are persons from 5 years old to 18 years old. That’s a lot of kids…over 710,000 to be exact. These students attend one of the many Los Angeles Schools, where they are served by the Los Angeles Schools 74,000 district employees.
With so many “clients” to serve, Los Angeles Schools need lots of help, and plenty of it comes from grants, state funding, and donations from private organizations. While money won’t solve all the issues, it is indeed an important component in the quest to improve the education provided by Los Angeles Public Schools.
For example, a new project, entitled “Ed in ‘08” has started. Named “Strong American Schools” and partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Ed in ‘08” has a platform based on higher standards, more effective teaching, and extra attention to Los Angeles Schools students who need it. The campaign hopes to inspire voters to force presidential candidates from both parties to make education the top priority and to take up its agenda. Higher standards for students means that the Los Angeles Schools will turn out students who are even more prepared to enter college or the workforce than the previous generation of students.
More effective Los Angeles Schools teachers are those who have attended inservice training, and have learned about “best teaching practices”; a national philosophy of teaching that attempts to give all students the attention they need and deserve in a safe, effective learning environment. Giving extra attention to students in need, such as those who have fallen behind in school is the 3rd goal of the project. Los Angeles Schools want all their students to succeed; but some students need more help reaching this goal than others. More teachers, innovative curriculum, and special programs are necessary to help these students reach their potential.
In a city that is home to Hollywood, one would expect there to be an excellent Arts program. The school system serving Los Angeles Schools works diligently to make this happen. In fact, recent and highly significant state allocations to the Visual and Performing Arts education have been made.  Nearly $47 million will go to the Los Angeles Schools, and is earmarked for dance, music, theatre, and visual arts instruction. Los Angeles Schools have a great interest in graduating students who are skilled in these areas; why not use hometown talent to drive the movie business?