Curriculum

In Hollywood's backyard, a push to rectify arts inequities

  • In this Tuesday, March 8, 2016 photo, student Maleenah Vera waves her arms during a music class at Stevenson Middle School in East Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest, once had a $76.8 million budget for arts education, but years of cuts and layoffs wiped all arts classes from dozens of schools - leaving many students in the entertainment capital of the world with no music, visual arts, dance or theater instruction. That is slowly starting to change: The district is trying to enlist Hollywood studios to "adopt" LA Unified schools and provide them with equipment, mentorships and training. (AP Photo/Christine Armario)

    In this Tuesday, March 8, 2016 photo, student Maleenah Vera waves her arms during a music class at Stevenson Middle School in East Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest, once had a $76.8 million budget for arts education, but years of cuts and layoffs wiped all arts classes from dozens of schools - leaving many students in the entertainment capital of the world with no music, visual arts, dance or theater instruction. That is slowly starting to change: The district is trying to enlist Hollywood studios to "adopt" LA Unified schools and provide them with equipment, mentorships and training. (AP Photo/Christine Armario)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Tuesday, March 8, 2016 photo, teacher Steve Shin sings with students during a music class at Stevenson Middle School in East Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest, once had a $76.8 million budget for arts education, but years of cuts and layoffs wiped all arts classes from dozens of schools - leaving many students in the entertainment capital of the world with no music, visual arts, dance or theater instruction. That is slowly starting to change: The district is trying to enlist Hollywood studios to "adopt" LA Unified schools and provide them with equipment, mentorships and training. (AP Photo/Christine Armario)

    In this Tuesday, March 8, 2016 photo, teacher Steve Shin sings with students during a music class at Stevenson Middle School in East Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest, once had a $76.8 million budget for arts education, but years of cuts and layoffs wiped all arts classes from dozens of schools - leaving many students in the entertainment capital of the world with no music, visual arts, dance or theater instruction. That is slowly starting to change: The district is trying to enlist Hollywood studios to "adopt" LA Unified schools and provide them with equipment, mentorships and training. (AP Photo/Christine Armario)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Tuesday, March 8, 2016 photo, students Landon Palacios, from left, Diego Castillo, Karen Nicifori and Jennifer Munoz sing during a music class at Stevenson Middle School in East Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest, once had a $76.8 million budget for arts education, but years of cuts and layoffs wiped all arts classes from dozens of schools - leaving many students in the entertainment capital of the world with no music, visual arts, dance or theater instruction. That is slowly starting to change: The district is trying to enlist Hollywood studios to "adopt" LA Unified schools and provide them with equipment, mentorships and training. (AP Photo/Christine Armario)

    This Tuesday, March 8, 2016 photo, students Landon Palacios, from left, Diego Castillo, Karen Nicifori and Jennifer Munoz sing during a music class at Stevenson Middle School in East Los Angeles. Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest, once had a $76.8 million budget for arts education, but years of cuts and layoffs wiped all arts classes from dozens of schools - leaving many students in the entertainment capital of the world with no music, visual arts, dance or theater instruction. That is slowly starting to change: The district is trying to enlist Hollywood studios to "adopt" LA Unified schools and provide them with equipment, mentorships and training. (AP Photo/Christine Armario)  (The Associated Press)

Years of budget cuts have stripped arts classes from much of the Los Angeles school district, leaving many children in the world's entertainment capital with no instruction in music, visual arts, dance or theater.

Now the nation's second-largest district is trying to enlist Hollywood studios to "adopt" schools and provide students with equipment, mentorships and training as a way to reverse the layoffs that have decimated the curriculum.

The financial picture is slowly changing. The arts budget has grown to $26.5 million, about 40 percent higher than five years ago, but still a fraction of what was once available.

In 2014, the district hired former TV writer and producer Rory Pullens as its executive director for arts education. He has hired an arts teacher at every school.