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Why Would LA Cancel School After A Sports Championship? We Win Them All The Time

Matthew Stafford #9 waves with his right hand to the crowd at SoFi Stadium after the game. Above him a massive lighted sign reads: Super Bowl LVI Bound
L.A. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford celebrates Sunday's win over the San Francisco 49ers.
(Christian Petersen
/
Getty Images)
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Kids in Los Angeles have had especially charmed sports childhoods. Not only will young Angelenos soon get to watch the Rams in a Super Bowl — in Oct. 2020, they watched the Dodgers and Lakers clinch titles.

And then most of them showed up to school the next day.

But in and around Cincinnati — where it’s been 32 years since a major sports franchise last won a title — the Bengals’ Super Bowl appearance is such a big deal that a growing list of school districts are canceling classes on the day after the big game.

(Editor’s note: Kyle is from Minnesota, where the last major sports title was 31 years ago. He’s writing about you with bittersweet admiration, Cincinnati, not scorn.)

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Cincinnati Public Schools says it wants to allow students to celebrate “what we believe will be our city’s first-ever Super Bowl victory.”

Any chance the L.A. Unified School District does the same? Nah. It's playing it cool. Sports championships grow on trees here.

“Los Angeles Unified schools will be open on Monday, Feb. 14,” district spokesperson Shannon Haber said in an email. “We hope the Rams win!”

For what it’s worth: those 2020 championships didn’t appear to have a discernible effect on attendance. The day after the Dodgers won, 95.2% of LAUSD students were present in online classes — not far off from normal at the time, Haber said. Attendance the day after the Lakers won was slightly lower (93.3%), but absence rates do tend to creep up on Mondays anyway.

The idea of canceling school would likely draw the ire of some working parents, who have been desperate for in-person learning and childcare solutions for months — so anyone suggesting LAUSD follow suit, prepare to get tackled harder than a quarterback getting sacked by Aaron Donald.

Some parents would probably prefer campuses be closed anyway: those who are so concerned about COVID-19 that they would like a return to distance learning. But state law makes that nearly impossible to do on a district-wide scale — and also requires schools to offer a minimum of 180 days of instruction.

UPDATE (Feb. 2): Who dey think gonna beat them Bengals? It might be a rhetorical question, but LAUSD school board president Kelly Gonez has an answer.

"School board members do not have the power to cancel school," Gonez wrote in a statement emailed after publication. "But it’s important to recognize that, unlike Cincinnati, Los Angeles has many winning professional sports teams. If we canceled class every time they made the championship, our students would miss out on significant learning time! Go Rams!"

What questions do you have about K-12 education in Southern California?
Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).

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Updated February 2, 2022 at 4:50 PM PST
Updated to include a statement from LAUSD board president Kelly Gonez.