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Magnet Schools and Desegregation Debate: Pro. Anne Roberts and Casey Catron. BACKGROUND. Emerged in 1960s to remedy public segregation (DOE, 2004) Written into law: Section 5301 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization

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  • Emerged in 1960s to remedy public segregation (DOE, 2004)
    • Written into law: Section 5301 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization
  • Modified to address de facto segregation in the 1970s (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011)
magnet schools
  • Four Major Components (Rossell, 2012):
    • Special curricular theme
    • Role in voluntary desegregation
    • Choice of school by student & parent
    • Access to students beyond a regular attendance zone
opening statement
  • POSITION: Magnet schools are an efficient practice to desegregate schools. They attract a diverse student population, while furthering their academic achievement. They provide for a happier staff, academically advanced student body and a more involved community.
  • A diverse student body
  • Specialized curriculum/ theme-based education
  • Distinguished faculty/theme-based training
  • Higher attendance rates
  • Higher graduation rates
  • Lower drop-out rates
  • Increased achievement scores
  • Increased parent and community involvement
  • Provides a feeling of a safer learning environment

(Magnet schools ofAmerica,2007)

  • Magnet schools attract students of a diverse background as well as students outside of their designated schooling zone. In turn, this helps to diversify a school that would otherwise predominately be minorities. (Chen, 2007)
  • White students typically make up only 32% of the student body. (Meeks, Meeks & Warren , 2002)
  • Desegregation is typically acquired by white students choosing to enroll in the magnet school located in a minority schooling zone. (Crouch, 1999)
  • When students of low socioeconomic status attend a magnet school, they have higher achievement rates than similar students that remain in their zoned public school. (Chen, 2007)
  • 80% of magnet schools have an average reading and math proficiency score above their neighboring schools. (Crouch, 1999)

Crouch, M. (1999). Magnet Schools and Other Means of Desegregation. Poverty & Prejudice: Our Schools Our Children. Retrieved from

Department of Education. (2004). Elementary & Secondary Education. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from:

Magnet Schools of America (2007). What are magnet schools? Retrieved from

Meeks, L., Meeks, W., & Warren , C. (2002). Racial Desegregation. Education and Urban Society, 33 (1), 88-101. Retrieved from

Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2011). Foundations   of Education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub Co.

Rossell, C. (2012). The Desegregation Efficiency of Magnet Schools. Urban Affairs Review, 38 (5), 697-725.