LAUSD Courts Newborn Babies Amid Enrollment Declines

They can’t even crawl yet, but the state’s largest school district is already trying to convince their parents to send them to public school. 

To blunt a sharp decrease in enrollments at Los Angeles public schools, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has launched a student recruitment campaign targeting newborn babies, the Los Angeles Times reports. Carvalho kicked off the Born to Learn campaign at L.A. County-USC Medical Center this week. He handed out swag bags with beanies, onesies, bibs and baby blankets. 

In the bags were instructions for early education enrollment beginning at age 2 and “a pitch” for later years. There was information about the various programs LAUSD offers students and families, from language immersion and STEM programs to nutrition and mental health assistance. Each bag also contained a mock high school diploma. 

The Times describes the campaign as “part inspiration and perhaps part desperation.” LAUSD is projected to see a 30% drop in enrollments over the next decade — a decline that would heavily impact funding. 

The Born to Learn program is just one idea Carvalho has implemented to boost school enrollment. The schools chief has also proposed $7 billion in school upgrades, new magnet and apprenticeship preparation programs, digital upgrades, and expanded transportation options.