Opinion: LAUSD robocalls: A lesson in how to confuse and infuriate parents


I am the parent of a Los Angeles Unified School District student, and I get robocalls from the district probably two times a week. These are not calls from my son’s elementary school. These are recorded messages from various district officials, informing me of some meeting or workshop or that parents should fill out some paperwork.

I admit, these calls come so frequently and are so rarely useful that whenever I see the (213) 241 prefix, I let it go to voicemail and only occasionally listen to the message.

But last night’s call was so frustratingly useless that I had to listen to it several times to figure out if I was confused or if the district was just being confusing. Guess which one it was?


The call was regarding a parent survey on changing the school calendar, which perhaps I would know about if I regularly listened to these robocalls. (I was aware the district was pondering changing the school year start and end dates, thanks to LA School Report.) Nevertheless, the call didn’t explain what was happening with the school calendar, and that might have been helpful.

The message began by saying, “We are calling for your preference in taking the survey on school calendars. We want to provide options that best fit your preference.” Well, thanks for asking.

It continued, “Please choose one of the three options: taking a phone survey, an online survey or choosing not to participate in the survey.” OK, those are fine choices. How do I choose?

The call then went on for the next 30 seconds, describing all the details of the phone survey — including which days and times the district would call, that I should take the call in a quiet setting with good cell reception and that I should go on the district’s website to prepare myself for the survey.

Then the message ended.

There’s no more mention of the online survey, such as where to find it or when it’s due. No more mention of how to opt out of the whole process. Just an abrupt end that left me wondering, did I miss something?

I understand that it’s really hard to communicate with the parents of 600,000-plus students and those parents have different language needs and use different modes of communication. The phone is almost universal, so robocalls make sense. Just do the calls a little better, please.


So, when the Board of Education wonders why parents tune out the district and fail to get engaged on the bigger issues, like the selection of the next superintendent, this might be one of the reasons why.

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