Along with principals at the Creative Artists Agency, the group of high-profile celebrities are creating a new high school in Los Angeles -- the Roybal School of Film and Television Production, housed within the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center -- to help teenagers in underserved communities train for jobs in Hollywood. The announcement is the latest in a series of entertainment industry donations to city schools.
According to The New York Times, the magnet school is set to launch in fall 2022 and is intended to "diversify the pipeline of cinematographers, engineers, visual effects artists and other technical workers in the city’s signature job sector, and is one of at least three joint initiatives started in the past two months between the Los Angeles schools and entertainment industry benefactors."
"Everyone is recognizing that the industry needs to do better. There’s a moment in time where it gets easier to do things," Clooney told the outlet. "We thought this would be a lot longer process, but we found we were pushing an open door."
"Nobody is better at guilting a studio or union or guild into stepping up," he added, of all the people behind the new film and TV school. "It's what we do."
The Los Angeles Unified School District is the nation's second largest district, serving over 650,000 mostly low-income students in kindergarten through 12th grade, where eight in 10 students are Latino or Black. "The challenges of the Los Angeles public schools have, for generations, been epic," The New York Times reports. "The district sprawls across 710 square miles and encompasses some 1,400 schools. Eighty percent of the students live in poverty, and nearly 100,000 are learning English."
"Charity is no substitute for justice," Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the California State Board of Education, told the outlet. "It's great that people are making these investments, but we have a bigger job to do."
Back in April, Clooney spoke to ET about the charitable values he's teaching Alexander and Ella, the 4-year-old twins he shares with wife Amal Clooney.
"Well, you try [to instill charitable values]. They’re not quite four yet so they don't [understand]," he said at the time. "My kids will always say, they'll pick up a toy and they’ll go, 'This is for the poor people.' And I go, 'Good. OK, so let's put it in the basket and we'll take it to the poor people.' And then there's this shock on their face when reality hits."
"My parents always taught me that the best things you could do [is] challenge people in power and look out for people who aren't in power and those kinds of things," he continued. "For [Amal and I], it's just a matter of where we wanna spend our time and money and understanding that I, in my profession, got very lucky and I know it…and luck needs to be shared. Luck has to be given to other people. You gotta pass it on along the way, and my wife feels the same way."