At today’s school board meeting, Steve Zimmer suggested that the district create school options that would compete with charters. Since the district keeps hemmorhaging students, the clear way to keep families on its rosters is to give them clear, palatable choices.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that good programs bring families to the district. Whether it’s a K-8 span school, a dual-language immersion philosophy, or different calendars or daily schedules, if the district creates it, SOME families will come. Sadly, families seem to say the same thing over and over, and the district only partially listens. Clearly not every program will appeal to all families.

I’d love the idea of skipping the hormone-laden, challenging middle school years, so a K-8 piques my interest. Parents readily apply to schools outside LAUSD for various dual language programs. My son attended a high school on a Copernican Block schedule, which felt much more like a college schedule. There are drawbacks to each program, but parents chose different philosophies, programs, and schedules, that fit their family.

With over 600,000 students in LAUSD (although the numbers keep declining), there is a way to create schools for virtually every population. One size hardly fits all. And while charters are responding to the families they recruit, LAUSD seems far more rigid in what they can do or are willing to do. Pilot schools are a great start, as are some of the K-8 programs. But more must be done to retain the families who run before they even look inside an LAUSD school.


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