George Clooney and other Hollywood stars invest in LA public education. Who benefits?

By Jenna Kagel

Actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, Eva Longoria and principals at Creative Artists Agency have banded together for an unlikely cause: a new public school in LA. The magnet school, called the Roybal School of Film and Television Production, is supposed to improve the pipeline for below-the-line jobs in Hollywood like cinematographers, visual effects artists, and engineers. 

“This is what we’ve accepted in American education, which is that public school systems require private investment in order to adequately and effectively educate children,” says Jill Cowan, the California Today correspondent for the New York Times. “And that lends itself to inequality. There’s only so many schools that are geographically proximate to Hollywood.” 

She explains that the announcement of this new public school is good for Hollywood specifically. “Investing in Los Angeles’ local schools to benefit one of the region’s biggest, highest profile, most unique industries makes a lot of sense. And you’ve seen this in a lot of other places. There’s a lot of discussion about investing in public education as a workforce initiative.”

She adds, “But at the same time, it depends on what industry is in a given area. So if you’re thinking the Central Valley or the Inland Empire, some of these educational programs may be for different industries. And so it is sort of a luck of the draw and bakes inequality into the system.”



  • Jill Cowan - New York Times reporter based in LA