Los Angeles is the beating heart of the entertainment industry, but it’s also a city with a terribly flawed public school system, a.k.a. the LAUSD, in which arts-related classes notoriously get the short end of the stick. It’s tough not to imagine the talent that could be fostered if this situation were different — and it appears that music moguls Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, who are certified professionals at shaking things up, are on the same page. On Monday, the duo announced plans to open a high school in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Leimert Park, per the L.A. Times.
“This is for kids who want to go out and start their own company or go work at a place like Marvel or Apple, or companies like that,” Iovine said. The school, called Regional High School No. 1 for the time being, is slated to welcome as many as 250 students as soon as fall 2022. The L.A. Board of Education approved its plans last week.
Although Iovine stressed that this will not be “a music school,” he also highlighted a focus on creativity.
“Here’s a place that you can go where there’s something that you can learn that you’re really interested in,” said Dre, who added the he feels strongly about helping “the inner-city kid, the younger me.” By registering the school as a magnet, students from anywhere in the district can apply.
Dr. Dre and Iovine already have experience in the educational system, but their most famous efforts were previously focused on the college level. Now, it appears that they’re targeting a deeper root of the problem: “We want to do it in the public system,” Iovine told the Times. “We wanted to go to where it’s most needed — and it’s most difficult. And we will not be satisfied if this doesn’t scale. We want people inspired enough to scale it.” Given that, as a state, California has had one of the worst-performing networks of public schools in recent years, it feels much needed. (As someone who went to a LAUSD public for a few years, I’d like to think I can call this ground-breaking, if these guys follow through.)
When the LAUSD approved a $7.8 billion budget for 2020, L.A. School Report reported that no changes were being made to the arts programs.