Sunday, May 13, 2012

Magnets Reimagined as School Choice Option

This from Education Week:
Once considered a solution to desegregate racially divided districts, magnet schools today have been forced to evolve, given legal barriers that bar using race to determine school enrollment and increasing pressure to provide more public school choices.

In a post-desegregation era, many large districts like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Baltimore County, have maintained high numbers of magnet schools, even amid the economic downturn, and others are using magnets as a strategy to meet new goals around improving school quality.

The changing definitions and demands have left the purpose and future of magnet schools in flux, according to magnet school advocates and researchers, particularly as the charter school movement continues to gather steam on national and state levels.

“This is a pivotal time for school districts and education leaders to clearly define the role of magnet schools,” said Claire Smrekar, an associate professor of education at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., who has researched magnet schools for decades. “The future of magnet schools will depend upon which policy values and priorities school leaders embrace and whether the federal role will emphasize racial diversity as an educational goal or place the highest value instead on accountability and innovation exclusively, at the expense of diversity.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't see how teaching folks about magnets is going to help them these days. I mean they are helpful for keeping stuff hanging on your refrigerator but that is a pretty limited career choice if you ask me. What we need to do is just start setting up schools that teach just one profession and stop trying to mix everybody up with a bunch of stuff they are never going to use like quadratic formulas, split infinitives and forshadowing. Just tell kids when they show up to first grade they are all going to learn to be plumbers. At another school they could be computer types, at another they could be nurses, at another they could be pawn shop operators and so on. We could get kids through school in half the time which would save us 50% what we spend on education, kids would start contributing to the tax rolls much earlier, and they would be some of the best at their profession after training for over half a decade at their profession. I guess we could have a couple of magnet schools but not too many because they don't wear out too quick and they mess up pacemakers too.