TFS Subscriber Profile: Desiree Lapin and the Parents Education League of LA


We caught up with Desiree Lapin, founder of the Parents Education League of LA, a non-profit organization that serves as a valuable resource for parents on all things having to do with their child’s education.  If you have young kids, you’re either already up-to-date with the PEL, or kicking yourself for not knowing that it existed. Don’t feel out of the loop – the organization was only begun a few years ago.

How did the PEL get off the ground? “When I lived in NY, I was a devotee of the Parents League of New York, because it was the go-to authority for new parents, my source for advice on schools and parenting. In fact, you wouldn’t not be a member if you had a child!  The NY Parent’s Leage has over 5000 members and has been around for decades.  I moved to LA when my boys were 3 and 5 — right at the age when I needed help navigating the pre-school waters and expected to find a corresponding entity. But none existed.”

So what’s a mother to do? Desiree dug into the research – talking with parents, reading books and visiting schools.  Most parents spend years navigating the tricky waters of educating their child. We’ve all had to do some version of this chore, but Desiree gathered contacts and cataloged her research, so that other parents could learn from her experience.

How did you go about creating PEL? “Step one in creating the PEL was getting permission from the NY organization to create a similar, non-affiliated LA operation. Next, I corralled friends who were educators and business people to set up a Board and established PEL’s non-profit status. And, then I just started doing my homework!”

What’s the hardest thing that parents face in the school process? “The most overarching question for parents is most frequently expressed as ‘What is the secret into getting into the best school ….for my child?’  The anxiety usually starts when gathering information and anecdotes about different schools and can then ramp into minor panic-attack level as parents start to obsess and ‘cocktail talk’ about the topic. Ultimately, parents can get whipped into a near frenzy when they realize they are all repeating just the same information! As a non-profit, Parents Education League of LA serves as an objective, current and comprehensive resource where parents can get all of the information they need in one place. PEL works with schools to establish criteria that parents use to evaluate their needs and what schools have to offer. It is an incredibly valuable reassurance to have access to a group of people working in parents’ best interest as a whole! It isn’t always an easy process for a family to identify the best school for their children, but with PEL as their resource, parents can rest assured that they won’t be saying ‘If only I had known’ or ‘I wish someone had told me that’!”

Membership in PEL is $95 annually, and allows parents full access to the database of resources  – from school information, to tutoring and educational therapy recommendations to testing companies and special needs forums. Members also receive invitations to school and camp fairs, documentary film screenings, author book clubs and monthly adult education workshops in the West LA offices of the organization.

September’s topic was Separation Anxiety.

Events this fall include the Valley Preschool Fair (October 28) and a lecture called “No Trespassing – This is MY Body” by author Pattie Fitzgerald.

Probably the most valuable thing about being a member of PEL is that you’ll stay in-the-loop about education issues as they’re happening. PEL does not see itself as political – instead it aims to be a partner to parents by providing curated education news, a calendar of parenting events and ongoing adult classes.

Join them today and stay informed — The Parents Education League of LA ~ because your child’s education deserves more than a Google search!