By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Messing with Success
The magnets are not only "islands" of excellence, cut off from the larger world around them. They provide a crucial role in allowing a sense of possibility and aspiration to permeate the entire district—to kill them is to kill that sense. We should see them for what they are, vehicles of democracy. We can disagree about what "equalization" might mean, but I have my daughter in a magnet, at least in part, because I believe in the democratic mission of public education. We should be extending the magnet model, not gutting it.
Dan from Dallas, via dallasobserver.com
Thank you for investigating this important matter. I want everyone to remember that every child in Dallas, no matter where they live and regardless of income, can attend a magnet school if they qualify. The schools are diverse racially, economically and geographically. And we receive no Title I funds. The magnet schools are nationally known successes; why would Dallas want to toss that aside?
Bonnie Bazley from Dallas, via dallasobserver.com
Two of our children attend a DISD magnet school (Travis), and it has been a phenomenal experience for them. Both children have flourished in the project-oriented, individualized magnet environment. The teachers are excellent, and they care deeply about the kids. I have heard similar stories in visiting with parent leaders from both the learning centers and other magnet schools. These schools do not foster elitism, but rather personal responsibility and initiative. They provide children from every corner of Dallas and from all walks of life the same opportunity: An education that is tailored to their needs.
Kristin from Dallas, via dallasobserver.com
Let's say for argument sake that we dismantle the magnets, spread the budget evenly to all the schools in the district. What next? What do you do with newly renovated Booker T. Washington, or Townview, or Skyline? Who is going to create new attendance zones to encompass thousands of students within the neighborhoods closest to these schools? Who is going to tell all the juniors planning to graduate from their current high school in 2010, "Sorry, you are changing schools, so you can just throw away that senior ring. It's no longer your school." Where are you going to send the students at Townview's Talented and Gifted Magnet and Science and Engineering Magnet to take college-level courses? There isn't another school in the district that offers the courses these students are scheduled to take next. My son is a junior and will have 18 college courses completed at Townview before he graduates next year. If you spread these students around Dallas to attend their neighborhood high school, the schools will not be prepared to teach the classes they are ready to take...If you dismantle the magnets, it will not be feasible to offer college-level courses at all the campuses in DISD. The end result will be to reduce the academic achievement possibilities of DISD to the average student.
A class crime
Can anyone explain how giving a kid a $500 fine is going to improve school attendance or decrease daytime burglary? Anyone? There is no research to support this; there is no rational argument to support it. Giving kids a ticket is just that, giving kids a ticket. It doesn't make school safer, more appealing; it doesn't improve conditions that lead to truancy; it doesn't help hungry kids get fed—in fact, it does the opposite. So sorry for the kids in Dallas who need help, not financial penalties for not having the tools they need to get by perfectly in this world. They need assistance, not tickets.
The kids caught cutting school should be given a taste of the careers they can look forward to. I suggest some or all of the following:1. Have them dig some ditches.2. Spend time working in fast food.3. Standing on a street corner holding a sign.4. Working at the Dallas Observer.