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Los Angeles Mothers Get Eye-Opening School Lesson

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A new networking group for professional, working Los Angeles-based mothers held a recent panel discussion on how to empower parents to make informed decisions about the schools they choose for their children.

According to an event organizer, the mothers attending the "Educating Your Child in Los Angeles" session on Sept. 12 gasped after learning that every LAUSD student would receive an iPad. The parents attending the Outstanding Mothers' Gathering meeting learned that the Los Angeles Unified School District is a viable education option for children. Many were also unaware of the variety of charter schools and magnet schools in the nation's second largest district.

Lawyer Erica Moore-Burton founded Outstanding Mothers' Gathering (OMG) in June. The mother of two young children in North Hills, Calif., she wanted to network with women who faced the same challenges of balancing work and parenthood. Moore-Burton, who is a recruiter for legal professionals, said OMG has struck a chord in the L.A.-area with more moms joining the group each month. (She won't say how many just yet).

OMG's conversations and events tackle work-related issues, parenting challenges, and of course education. The group wanted to demystify the school options—private and public—available to Los Angeles mothers during its session this month, Moore-Burton said.

"We wanted to assure moms that children can get a good education in L.A.," she added.

While admittedly many of the OMG moms are more likely to lean toward private schools for their children, there was interest in learning more about LAUSD and other California pubic schools. Moore-Burton said panelist Marta Jevenois, principal at Trinity Street Elementary School in LAUSD, will lead a future session for mothers to help them interpret those sometimes-confusing state test scores.

Moore-Burton said one comment that received applause from the group was a parent whose chief concern was finding a school that would allow her daughter to be "a little girl" instead of a child obsessed with academics.

Moore-Burton said she shares that concern. A native of Watford, England, which is northwest of London, she attended an all-girls school where she would sometimes cry before exams because of the immense pressure to perform.

"The pressure that was applied back then was unnecessary," she said. "I don't want my kids to be stressed out."

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