Los Angeles is opening a new high school. Unlike most schools, this specialized magnet program is backed by Hollywood elites. The program aims to prepare students from underserved communities for jobs in the entertainment industry, reports The New York Times.
- George Clooney, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle and Mindy Kaling, among others, will form the advisory board for the school, reports CBS local.
This is the latest initiative between Los Angeles schools and entertainment industry leaders to invest in local students, says The New York Times.
Why are Hollywood stars starting a high school in Los Angeles?
Hollywood has come under increasing criticism for its lack of diversity despite being located in one of the most diverse cities, reports NBC Los Angeles. Those who have sought to hire more diverse crews quickly found a lack of diversity in those trained to work in entertainment.
- Clooney, speaking with The New York Times, said that “everyone is recognizing that the industry needs to do better. There’s a moment in time where it gets easier to do things.”
The new school hopes to diversify the “pipeline” of visual effects artists, cinematographers, engineers and other technical workers who do behind-the-scenes work in Hollywood, per The New York Times.
How will the new school function?
The Roybal School of Film and Television Production — the new school — will open within the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in downtown Los Angeles. The new program expands on similar smaller initiatives focused on low-income students, reports The New York Times.
- The curriculum will meet all requirements for the state of California and for the University of California system, says NBC Los Angeles.
- By partnering with local Hollywood agencies, the school will offer an intensive internship program, says NBC Los Angeles.
The school will open in 2022 with about 120 students in ninth and 10th grade. Over the next two years, the program will expand into 11th and 12th grade, says CBS Los Angeles.
Will the new school actually increase diversity in Hollywood?
Star-driven magnet schools have a mixed track record, reports The New York Times. The biggest challenge for the program comes in sustaining funding from key donors.
- So far, Clooney remains optimistic about the project, saying that “nobody is better at guilting a studio or union or guild into stepping up. It’s what we do,” per New York Times.
Los Angeles school district superintendent, Austin Beutner, expressed his optimism.
- “We’re unlocking for the first time in Los Angeles a whole set of community members who historically have not been engaged in our public schools.”