Public education has changed drastically. Technology, specialized magnet campuses, charter schools, the importance of Advanced Placement courses and standardized student tests — if you graduated even 10 years ago, odds are, you wouldn't recognize your alma mater today.
It has become a field driven by the need to keep pace with the changing times, and a big part of that now involves competition among districts. And key in that race is becoming specialized. In doing so, districts can poach students from outside their boundaries — an important factor in state education funding — and boost their prestige.
Here locally, Glendale Unified has generated significant buzz and attention for its dual-language academies, which in recent years have spread to more campuses and taken on more foreign tongues, offering students the chance to become near-bilingual in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean and Armenian by the time they graduate elementary school. And there are discussions about how to expand those academies into secondary schools.