Student A attends El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, one of the top-achieving public schools in the state, a school that is a regular finalist in national Academic Decathlon competitions with plenty of advanced placement classes available, located in a bucolic upper-middle class neighborhood. Student B attends Belmont Senior High School in Westlake, a struggling school with an unbelievable 60% drop out rate where 80% of its students qualify for federal free or reduced lunches and students’ proficiency rates in both math and reading hover around 50%. How can two schools in the same district produce such wildly different results? This is the tale of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which with 617,000 students is one of the nation’s largest and most unwieldy, with huge disparities in access to good classrooms, teachers and coursework. Patt and her guests hear stories from students themselves about the differing experiences of going to school in the LAUSD and what can be done to bridge the educational gap.
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