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Music billionaires Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine to launch a new public school in LA

Music industry giants Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine announced plans last week to invest their own billions in a new high school in South Los Angeles.  

The school, in partnership with the LA Unified School District, is aimed at motivating members of its predominantly Black and Latino student population to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and critical thinkers. 

Dre, born Andre Young, said he never had much interest in school and wanted to reach ‘the inner-city kid, the younger me,’ he told the Los Angeles Times, adding, ‘Here’s a place that you can go where there’s something that you can learn that you’re really interested in.’ 

Music industry titans Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine announced plans last week to partner with the LA School District and launch a high school in fall, 2022

‘This is for kids who want to go out and start their own company or go work at a place… like Marvel, or Apple or companies like that,’ Iovine said.  

The LA Board of Education approved plans for the school last week, and it is slated to open in the fall of 2022. 

It is intended to be a magnet school, meaning students can apply from anywhere in the district, and will provisionally be called Regional High School No. 1 located at the current Audubon Middle School in Leimert Park.

Dre and Iovine’s vision for the school will be based on the pair’s to the University of Southern California’s Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, launched with a $70 million donation from the two in 2013. 

The school will open at the current site of the Audubon Middle School in South LA, pictured above

The school will open at the current site of the Audubon Middle School in South LA, pictured above 

The concept behind the USC academy is to create the next generation of entrepreneurs through problem solving exercises and learning labs in partnership with private industry and nonprofit experts.

The new high school version is intended to follow a similar mold, the LA Times reported, with planned private-industry partnerships and high-tech learning equipment.

While it is not clear how much curriculum will deviate from a traditional LA public high school, Iovine maintained that it is not a music or hip-hop school. 

Dre, 56, grew up in Compton and attended Fremont High School in South L.A. 

He rose to prominence in the 1990s with the hip-hop group N.W.A. and became an influential solo artist and producer. He has a reported net worth of around $600 million. 

Iovine, 68, started as a music session engineer after growing up in Brooklyn, and worked with artists such as Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon. 

The high school will me modeled after the University of Southern California's Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, which was launched with a $70 million contribution from Dre and Iovine in 2014

The high school will me modeled after the University of Southern California’s Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, which was launched with a $70 million contribution from Dre and Iovine in 2014

He founded Interscope Records in 1990, and through that, became a longtime collaborator with Dre. He has a reported net worth of around $1 billion. 

They founded Beats Electronics, makers of the popular headphones line Beats by Dre, which they sold to Apple for $3 billion in 2014.

The goal behind the school is to increase enrollment in the district’s public schools where middle-class Black families in the area have been increasingly sending their children to charter and private schools. Public school enrollment has been down on average around 2 percent per year, the LA Times reported. 

Superintendent Austin Beutner said the district hopes the partnership will create, ‘the coolest high school in America,’ he said and increase interest.

Dre and Iovine have been partners in the music industry since the 1990s, and have mentored a number of music artists over the years

Dre and Iovine have been partners in the music industry since the 1990s, and have mentored a number of music artists over the years

The proposal, however, was initially met with concerns from the district’s Board of Education over state funding for the school, which at its size, would be financially unsustainable for the proposed number of around 250 students. 

Dre and Iovine, however, promised they would pay whatever is necessary to keep it running. 

Dre said it was frustrating to see the resistance, and, ‘how difficult it is to do something positive and to help.’ 

‘We want to do it in the public system,’ Iovine told the LA Times. ‘We wanted to go to where it’s most needed — and it’s most difficult. And we will not be satisfied if this doesn’t scale. We want people inspired enough to scale it.’   


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